Updated: French President Sticks By Quicker Troop Withdrawal Schedule

May 18, 2012
Originally published on May 18, 2012 11:36 am

Update at 1:17 p.m. ET. Support Afghanistan In 'Different Way':

During their meeting in the White House, President Francois Hollande, the new socialist leader of France, said he told President Obama that he was committed to withdrawing French troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

But, the AP reports, Hollande said he was committed to supporting Afghanistan in a "different way."

This was Obama's first meeting with Hollande.

The two leaders also said they wanted Greece to remain a part the European monetary union.

The pool report notes that the two leaders joked a bit.

Hollande promised not to say anything against cheeseburgers and Obama quipped that that they go "very good with French fries."

Our Original Post Continues:

Later today, President Obama welcomes leaders from the Group of 8 nations to Camp David, Md., for a two-day summit. (Which countries are part of that group? See below.)

Sunday, he joins NATO heads of state — and invited leaders such as President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan — in Chicago for the 25th NATO summit. That gathering continues on Monday.

But before all that, he hosts new French President Francois Hollande at the White House this morning. And Hollande is expected, as The Associated Press reports, "to announce a pullout of all French combat troops from Afghanistan by year's end" — about two years early (there are about 3,300 French troops in Afghanistan).

"That could infuriate NATO allies and embarrass his re-election-minded host — and may well be logistically impossible," AP adds.

The G8 nations are:

-- Canada

-- France

-- Germany

-- Italy

-- Japan

-- Russia

-- U.K.

-- U.S.



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