The Mystery Of The Missing French Oak Sapling Solved

Hannah Rogers
May 3, 2018

France's President Emmanuel Macron - the man trying to hold the Iran nuclear deal together in the face of U.S. unpredictability and Israeli hostility - has said he does not know which way Donald Trump will jump on 12 May, when the next deadline for continuing the deal looms.

Much of the coverage last week centered on Macron's and Trump's weird body language and odd friendship, and the ice-cold nature of Merkel's relationship with the president. The tree, a gift from the French president, comes from Belleau Woods, near the Marne River in France.

"I don't know what the United States president will decide on May 12", he said during a two-day visit to Sydney, speaking alongside Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Following the Australia visit, the French leader will continue on to the French territory of New Caledonia, where a crucial independence referendum is due in November.

The 2015 deal has many critics - Trump among the most vociferous - who focus on three main weaknesses.

Also as part of Macron's visit, France and Australia signed pacts to strengthen military ties, both through cooperation in maritime activities and the establishment of an annual Franco-Australian defense industry symposium.

Macron will also be keen to talk defence and trade, building on a mega Aus$50 billion (US$37 billion, 31 billion euros) deal agreed in late 2016 for France to supply Australia's new fleet of next-generation submarines.

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While not naming China, Macron said France will increase its influence in the region to ensure "rules-based development".

Downing Street said May, Merkel and Macron also pledged to "continue working closely" with the USA on the issue, including on "those issues that a new deal might cover".

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) speaks with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (centre R) during a visit to an Australian Navy base at Garden Island in Sydney on May 2, 2018.

Macron said whatever Trump's coming decision, a broader deal was needed because "nobody wants a war in the region and nobody wants an escalation in terms of tension in the region".

"The nuclear deal or any other subject under its pretext is not negotiable in any way", Rouhani told Macron in a telephone call quoted by the website of the Iranian presidency.

"No great nation has ever been built by turning its back on the world".

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