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Macron to make state visit to US in April

French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte Macron, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the Bastille Day parade last year Reuters/Yves Herman

US President Donald Trump has invited France's Emmanuel Macron to visit Washington in April - the first state visit of Trump's term in office. The American leader was so impressed by his own state visit to France last year that he proposed holding a Bastille-Day-style military parade in Washington.

Macron is expected to visit the US capital on 23-24 April, sources told the AFP news agency.

He may also visit New Orleans, which is celebrating its 300th birthday, giving him a chance to give a boost to the Francophonie alliance of French-speaking nations.

The invitation was reportedly issued on the suggestion of Trump's wife, Melania.

Trump, who was visibly impressed by France's Bastille Day military parade during his visit, this week suggested that the US should hold a similar event, although the cost of transporting the army's hardware to Washington seems to proved prohibitive.

While nearly two million Britons have signed a petition against Trump being invited on a state visit to their country, his trip to France passed off without much protest and, although Macron and Trump differ on issues such as climate change, the French president insists their friendly relations are good diplomatic practice.

"This personal relationship is very strong for me, I'm very attached to it," he told Switzerland's RTS broadcaster.

The US is France's partner on questions like fighting terrorism, Syria and the Middle East, he said.

"If we get upset with them, we won't be able to take action."