President Obama welcomes French President François Hollande to the White House as the two leaders hold talks during state visit. Linda So reports.
REPORTER: Washington rolled out the red carpet for a ceremonial state visit. President Obama and the First Lady greeted French President François Hollande as he arrived at the White House on Tuesday. The leaders stood side by side for the outdoor ceremony as a military band played the national anthems of each country. Obama and Hollande took time to greet people who had gathered on the South Lawn before making brief remarks.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "It is a great honor to welcome my friend, President Hollande and his delegation for their first state visit to the United States; in fact, the first state visit by a French president in nearly 20 years."
FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE: "It's cold in Washington, you're right, but it's a beautiful day, a great day for America and France."
REPORTER: The two leaders headed over to the Oval Office for official talks. At a joint news conference following the meeting, Obama and Hollande said they stand united on key issues from Syria to Iran.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "President Hollande and I agree on the need to continue enforcing existing sanctions, even as we believe that new sanctions during these negotiations would endanger the possibility of a diplomatic solution. And we remain absolutely united on our ultimate goal, which is preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
REPORTER: A lavish state dinner will be held Tuesday night to honor the French president.
A red carpet is a long, red floor covering that is put down for an important guest to walk on when he or she visits somewhere and receives a special official welcome. For Hollande's visit, the Americans literally did roll out the red carpet. However, the expression can also be used metaphorically. • This city has rolled out the red carpet for women's fashion buyers and the media.
Hollande continued his speech in French, explaining (in English) that "I will speak in French because I am obliged to do that for my country" (great excuse!). However, he does seem to have made some progress since his last recorded attempt at speaking English.
You can watch the whole Arrival Ceremony here. Hollande's speech starts at 35:10.