French president tells Obama he will support Afghan mission a 'different way'

New French President Francois Hollande reiterated his campaign pledge to pull French troops out of Afghanistan this year following his first meeting with President Obama. 

But Hollande vowed to continue supporting the NATO mission in a "different way.”

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Hollande made the remarks after meeting with Obama at the White House prior to this weekend's G-8 and NATO summits, where the French decision to withdraw its 3,400 troops is expected to be a source of friction.

Obama has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan that paves the way for all U.S. troops to leave the country at the end of 2014.

The two leaders spoke to White House reporters and the French media for 18 minutes after their meeting, according to the White House press pool. They took no questions.

The two leaders made brief remarks about Syria and Iran and agreed that the eurozone needs to rethink its debt-cutting austerity program. The G-8 summit that starts tonight, Obama said, will include a "strong growth agenda."

Hollande said he would continue his conversation about Afghanistan during the NATO summit in Chicago starting Sunday. He also said he "shared views" with Obama on the subject of Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions and said that France would meet its commitments regarding Syria and Arab Spring countries.


The two leaders wrapped up with light banter.

Hollande told Obama – a fast-food lover – that he would “say nothing against cheeseburgers” while visiting Chicago.

Obama warned Hollande that “now that he's president, he can no longer ride his scooter in Paris."

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