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Hollande, Merkel to meet Trump - by telephone

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during a visit at a forum entitled "La France s'engage" dedicated to associations for social and solidarity projects of education, employment, environment and sports in Paris, France, January 15, 2017.5 REUTERS/Francois Mori/POOL

French president, François Hollande is to hold a telephone meeting Saturday with US president Donald Trump, along with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Earlier, Trump will also call Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The telephone conference follows a face-to-face meeting with the British Prime Minister Theresa May at the White House yesterday, Friday.

Hollande has already described the future relationship with Trump as one of the biggest future challenges facing the European Union.
Holland added that European leaders should, indeed be talking to Trump because he is the elected president of the US but Europe needs to be careful, he said;

“Of course we should talk to Donald Trump, but we should do it as Europeans collectively promoting our values and views, “ Hollade added.

Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met in Berlin on Friday, underlining the challenges for European unity in the face of a new U.S. president who has promised to shake up the status quo in international affairs.

"Let's say it honestly, there is the challenge posed by the new U.S. administration, regarding trade rules and what our position will be on managing conflicts in the world," Hollande, who will leave office after an April-May election, told reporters.

Trump and Putin are likely to discuss the sanctions that Washington imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine when the two leaders speak by telephone on Saturday, a senior White House aide said.

Trump has said in the past that, as part of a rapprochement he is seeking with Russia, he is prepared to review sanctions that his predecessor, Barak Osama, imposed on Russia over its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.