President Obama will welcome French President Francois Hollande to Washington next year for an official state visit designed to underscore the close alliance between the United States and France.
Hollande and his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, will join Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at a White House state dinner on Feb. 11, 2014, the White House announced Friday morning.
The announcement comes as France is playing a key role in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. A possible deal fell through earlier this month when France disagreed with other members of the six-nation bloc known as the P5-plus-1. Hollande also has recently joined with the German chancellor in proposing new cooperation agreements between U.S. and European intelligence services following reports that the National Security Agency has monitored the phone calls of allied leaders.
In a statement, Obama said he and Hollande plan to discuss “opportunities to further strengthen the U.S.-France security and economic partnership.”
“The United States and France are close friends and allies, including through NATO, and our countries have worked together to support democracy, liberty and freedom at home and abroad for more than two centuries,” Obama said in the statement.