Obama and Sarkozy present a united front

Presidents Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy have been at pains to dispel rumours of tension and division during a press conference at the end of the French leader’s two day visit to the US.

Both leaders agreed they had had frank but friendly discussions covering numerous subjects and both placed the global economy at the top of the agenda.

President Obama said: “We agreed to continue to work aggressively to sustain the global economic recovery and to create jobs for our people. And this includes, as we agreed with our G20 partners in Pittsburgh, to replace the old cycle of “bubble and bust” with growth that is balanced and sustained, and this requires effective coordination by all nations.”

The issue of Iran was on the table, with both presidents agreed that sanctions were needed to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

“Iran cannot continue its mad dash,” said President Sarkozy. “I told President Obama that, with Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel, we will make efforts to make sure the whole of Europe is engaged in the process of sanctions.”

One issue which had been causing transatlantic friction was the tender of a huge contract to supply aerial refuelling tankers to the US military. When the Pentagon changed the plane’s specifications, it was seen by the European aerospace group EADS as being biased towards US-owned Boeing. Obama has now said new bids will be sought which will be fair and free.