Donald Trump, Melania Trump welcome Macrons with glitzy welcome ceremony

WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump treated French President Emmanuel Macron to a colorful welcome ceremony at the White House on Tuesday during a state visit that threatened to expose differences on Iran, trade and Syria between two close allies.

A 21-gun salute echoed across the South Lawn and a flute-playing fife and drum corps, in red-coated uniforms and tri-corner hats, marched by Trump and Macron and their wives, Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron.

The two leaders were then to launch into a morning of talks expected to include how to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump wants to withdraw the United States from unless European powers strengthen its terms.

In the evening, the Trumps are to host the Macrons at the first state dinner conducted by Trump since he took power.

European calls for exemptions from Trump's plan for 25 percent tariffs on steel imports are also on their agenda, as well as the U.S. president's desire to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria as soon as practicable.

See images of Macron's state visit to the White House:

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Trumps, Macrons participate in glitzy White House state visit
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Trumps, Macrons participate in glitzy White House state visit
A military honor guard awaits the start of the official arrival ceremony being held by U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump stands with French President Emmanuel Macron (L) during the official arrival ceremony for Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron attend a welcoming ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a welcoming ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. President Donald Trump looks at first lady Melania Trump as they host the official arrival ceremony for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he and first lady Melania Trump preside over the official arrival ceremony for French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and his wife Brigitte Macron (L) on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump chats with French President Emmanuel Macron (L) during the official arrival ceremony for Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron listen to the national anthems during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. President Donald Trump salutes as he and French President Emmanuel Macron (L) review a military honor guard during the official arrival ceremony for Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron gesture during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
French President Emmanuel Macron waves as he stands on the Truman Balcony with U.S. President Donald Trump during the official arrival ceremony for the Macrons on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome French President Emmanuel Macron during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
First lady Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron attend an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
French President Emmanuel Macron kisses the hand of U.S. first lady Melania Trump as his wife Brigitte Macron looks on during the official arrival ceremony held for the Macrons by U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron walk down the colonnade at the White House following the official arrival ceremony for Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Emmanuel Macron, France's president, center, listens as U.S. President Donald Trump, left, speaks at an arrival ceremony during a state visit on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Washington on Monday for a three-day visit heavy on symbolism and substance as Donald Trump hosts the first official state visit of his presidency. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
French first lady Brigitte Macron and French President Emmanuel Macron walk with US President Donald Trump and US first lady Melania Trump upon arrival at Mount Vernon, the estate of the first US President George Washington, in Mount Vernon, Virginia, April 23, 2018. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: President Donald J. Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron plant a tree as first lady Melania Trump and Macron's wife Brigitte Macron watch on the South Lawn at the White House on Monday, April 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron ride in a golf cart at Mount Vernon, the estate of the first US President George Washington, in Mount Vernon, Virginia, April 23, 2018. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R): French first lady Brigitte Macron, French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Donald Trump, and US first lady Melania Trump arrive at Mount Vernon, the estate of the first US President George Washington, in Mount Vernon, Virginia, April 23, 2018. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Macron, whose visit will be followed by one on Friday from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, sees the Iran deal as the best available option to constrain Iran's nuclear ambitions. He has called on Trump to keep troops in Syria for the time being to ensure the defeat of Islamic State militants.

Trump, in welcoming remarks, thanked France for joining with the United States and Britain in launching airstrikes in Syria earlier this month in response to a chemical weapons attack blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He said he and Macron had developed over the past year "a wonderful friendship" that is "a testament to the enduring friendship that binds our two nations."

SEE ALSO: Melania Trump wore a giant white hat, and people have opinions

Macron, in his remarks, called for the two countries to work together against Islamist militants, on North Korea and Iran, on "free and fair trade," and on climate change.

"It is together that we will counter the proliferation in weapons of mass destruction, whether it is in North Korea or in Iran," Macron said.

He alluded to Trump's withdrawal last year from the Paris climate accord, saying "we do not always agree on the solution," but stressed "the fate of our children is at stake." (Writing by Steve Holland Editing by Alistair Bell)

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