Vice President Kamala Harris and French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday they look forward to closer US-French cooperation as they sat down for a bilateral meeting at the Elysée Palace aimed at revitalizing US-French ties.
Both countries are looking to rebuild trust after the US struck a surprise deal with Australia in September to help that country develop nuclear submarines, sinking a French submarine contract with Australia in the process. Harris’s five-day trip to Paris is the latest step in a weeks-long diplomatic effort by the US to make amends.
Macron thanked Harris for coming to Paris and said he was “extremely grateful” for her presence and that “the French people are extremely proud to have you.” He also noted that he had a “very fruitful meeting” with President Joe Biden in Rome last month on the sidelines of the G20.
“We do share the view that we are at the beginning of a new era and our cooperation is absolutely critical for this one,” Macron said.
Harris thanked Macron for inviting her to Paris and noted that “when the United States and France have worked together on challenges and opportunities, we have always found great success.”
Harris also spoke of the world entering a “new era” and said she looked forward to discussing areas of cooperation with France, including in scientific research, space, cyberspace and climate change, and vowed to “continue to work together and renew the focus that we have always had on our partnership.”
Harris and Macron both ignored shouted questions as reporters were escorted out of the room.
Neither of the two leaders explicitly reference the submarine affair and senior Biden administration officials have stressed that the US is “looking forward” in its relationship with France.
Harris’ meeting with Macron came toward the end of her second day in Paris, hours after she visited the Suresnes American Cemetery to pay her respects to American servicemembers who died in World Wars I and II on the eve of Veteran’s Day.
Harris began her trip to Paris on Tuesday with a visit to the Pasteur Institute, a leading French biomedical research institute, where her mother had conducted research in the 80s.
The vice president is also slated to deliver remarks at the Paris Peace Forum on Thursday and will also attend a conference on Libya on Friday alongside other world leaders.
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