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French President Emmanuel Macron plans to send United States President Donald Trump a new tree to replace the ill-fated oak the pair planted together on the White House lawn in April 2018.

The two leaders commemorated their countries’ relationship by planting the sapling in the grounds of the White House but US officials this week confirmed that it had died.

Read more: D-Day: Is joint commemoration possible?

“We will send him another, it is not a tragedy,” Macron told Swiss broadcaster RTS on the sidelines of an International Labor Organization (ILO) meeting in Geneva. “Do not see symbols where there are none, the symbol was to plant it together”.

Trump and Macron planted the tree with their wives watching on but it was not in the lawns of the White House for long as it was soon placed in quarantine due to national law regarding the potential introduction of parasites. 

Trump and Macron plant the tree together

Trump and Macron planted the oak tree outside the White House as a symbol of their countries’ friendship in April 2018

The oak had been uprooted from its original position at the site of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood in northern France, which involved US troops.

“I’ll send another oak because I think the US Marines and the friendship for freedom between our peoples is well worth it.”

In Macron’s main speech at the ILO meeting, he warned against the dangers of renewed global conflict, saying it was manifesting itself as divides within democratic countries and their populations. 

“I believe that today we are on the brink, if we don’t take care, of a time of war. And that war is present in our democracies, it’s the profound crisis we’re going through,” Macron said. “We can choose to be sleepwalkers. But if we want true progress we need to make some serious commitments.” 

Rising inequality was feeding “authoritarianism” within democracies, he said, arguing that voters “say democracy doesn’t protect us from inequality caused by capitalism gone mad, so let’s close our borders, build walls and get out of multilateralism.” Despite apparent parallels to several US policies, Macron didn’t name Trump.

jsi/msh (Reuters)

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