Paris, June 7 (ANI): US President Barack Obama has sought to clear the air about his wife Michelle and he declining a dinner invite from the French first couple, Nicholas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni.
According to Fox News, the British press reported the supposed declined invite was payback to Sarkozy for failing to invite Queen Elizabeth to the D-Day ceremony and a sign of continuing tension between the United States and France.
Obama, however, insisted that his lack of personal time spent with Sarkozy was not a snub.
"What it means is that I have a very tough schedule. I would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in Paris, stroll down the Seine, take my wife out to a nice meal, have a picnic. ... Those days are over, for the moment," Obama said.
Obama said France and the United States remain close allies despite past differences.
"I think it's important to understand that good friends don't worry about the symbols and the conventions and the protocols," he said.
"The United States is a critical friend and ally of France and vice versa. I personally consider Nicolas Sarkozy a friend. I think he feels the same way. And so, since I know I can always pick up the phone and talk to him, it's not necessary for me to spend huge amounts of time other than just getting business done when I'm here. "
Sarkozy echoed Obama's sentiments, saying symbolic appearances for the leaders of the United States and France aren't what's important during the 65th anniversary of D-Day. (ANI)