US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron had a tense news conference at the NATO summit in London. The two world leaders clashed over several issues in front of reporters. At one point, Mr Trump mocked the European for giving “the greatest non-answer”, which led to the audience present bursting into laughter.
A reporter asked the American leader whether France would take back French terrorists captured in Syria and Iraq.
President Trump told them: “We have a tremendous amount of captured ISIS fighters in Syria.
“They’re all under lock and key, but many are from France, many are from Germany, from the UK. They’re mostly from Europe. I have not spoken to the President about that.
He jokingly asked his conference partner: “Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? You could take any one you want.”
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However, Mr Macron was not amused, instead emphasising that his main concern was ISIS’ growing strength, which he attributed to destabilisation on the ground.
He said: “Let’s be serious. The very large numbers of fighters you have on the ground are the fighters coming from Syria, from Iraq and the region.
“It is true that you have fighters coming from Europe, but this is a tiny minority of the overall problem we have. We will have a case-by-case approach.
“But for me, the very first objective in the region is to finish war against ISIS. You have more and more of these fighters due to the situation today.”
President Macron made waves ahead of this week’s NATO gathering by describing the alliance as unmoored and “brain dead” as a result of the US pulling back and Turkey going rogue.
Before the joint news conference, President Trump described Macron’s “brain death” comments as “nasty” and “insulting.”
However, during the meeting, the French leader refused to back down.
He told reporters: ”I know that my statements created some reaction. I do stand by them.”
Despite his comments Tuesday morning, Mr Trump made repeated references to his “very good” relationship with Mr Macron.