World Bulletin / News Desk
Germany has for years longed for a stronger French partner, but may have got more than it bargained for as the self-confident Emmanuel Macron takes Europe's spotlight.
The 39-year-old French president welcomed US President Donald Trump to Paris for dinner in the Eiffel Tower and the traditional July 14 military parade.
The smiles and glad-handing between the two men contrasts starkly with Trump's dour relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The abiding image thus far has been his apparent refusal to shake her hand on her first Washington visit following his inauguration -- and the tensions remained on display at this month's G20 summit in Hamburg which Merkel chaired.
Macron has also reached eastwards, hosting Russian leader Vladimir Putin amid the spectacular surroundings of Versailles in late May.
Macron is showing that "France is back in the game," said Jean-Dominique Giuliani of the Robert Schuman foundation, a specialist European think-tank.
"There's a rebalancing -- which was necessary -- of the relationship with Germany," he added.
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Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell told reporters after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday that the U.S. also wants to see a resumption of talks to reunify the ethnically divided island nation.