Monday, October 18, 2021

Blinken in France to revive transatlantic alliance

French President Emmanuel Macron and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed possible areas of cooperation on Tuesday, as Blinken tries to improve relations between the two allies following a dispute over the security partnership between the United States, Britain and Australia. To visit Paris.

A US official told reporters that the meeting, which was not on Blinken’s public schedule, lasted about 40 minutes and included discussions on joint projects the two sides announced at a meeting between Macron and US President Joe Biden later this month. can do during

Blinken held talks earlier on Tuesday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and French National Security Adviser Emmanuel Bonne. The top US diplomat also chaired a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s ministerial council and commented on climate change, inequalities facing underserved populations and global threats to democracy.

“The principles at the heart of this organization and our democracies are being challenged by authoritarian governments who argue that their model is better able to meet the basic needs of the people. Some of these governments are actively undermining the rules-based system. that have been fundamental to the security and prosperity of our countries for generations,” Blinken said without naming specific nations.

Blinken said that member states must “prove that our approach can create a better life for people … in all countries and in a way that is more equitable than in the past” while “holding themselves accountable”.

Tension over AUKUS deal

US President Joe Biden’s administration announced a new security deal with Australia and Britain on 15 September. Under the deal, Australia will get at least eight nuclear-powered submarines domestically, using American technology. The deal came after Australia pulled out of an old deal with France for diesel-electric submarines, angering Paris.

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Within two days of the announcement, France withdrew its ambassadors to the United States and Australia. Le Drian declared that there was a “crisis of confidence” in the United States.

Following a phone call on 22 September between President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, which sought to de-escalate tensions over the submarine deal, the two leaders decided to open a process of in-depth consultations “to ensure trust”. Macron also decided that French ambassador Philippe Etienne would return to Washington next week.

On Thursday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called on Etienne to “continue to advance the shared agenda” at the White House ahead of Biden’s meeting with Macron in Europe in late October. Both are scheduled to attend the Group of 20 summit in Rome at that time.

“We need to make sure there is confidence,” said Karen Donfried, the newly confirmed assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, in a phone briefing on Friday.

While US-French relations remain an important one for both sides, James Goldgier, a senior visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said the Biden administration “seems to have been a little distracted by the angry French response.” For the AUKUS deal.

“It is good that both presidents are looking for ways to move forward. There is no doubt that the Biden administration considers the Indo-Pacific as its main focus. US policy toward regions such as Europe is viewed through that lens.” ,” Goldgear told VOA.

The US delegation to the OECD ministerial in October also includes John Kerry, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and US Trade Representative Catherine Tai, the State Department said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits an exhibition on the Marshall Plan with Mathias Corman, Secretary-General of Australia’s Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), at the OECD’s headquarters, October 5, 2021, in Paris.

OECD and China

The OECD gathering will discuss the climate crisis, promote the transition to net-zero emissions, as well as continue its commitment to shared values ​​such as democracy, rule of law and human rights on the principles of market-economy.

A senior State Department official said another focus during the OECD meeting is on the Blue Dot network, a mechanism to certify infrastructure projects that meet strong international quality standards.

The United States, Japan and Australia launched the Blue Dot network in 2019. Named for simply observing Earth from space as a “blue dot,” it encourages growth by certifying public-private investments in global infrastructure that are market-driven, transparent. , and environmentally sustainable.

Matt Murray, a senior official with the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, said during a phone call, “The administration is very involved in engaging like-minded partners and allies to talk about the behavior of non-market economies, including China. is interested.” Briefing on Friday.

Murray told the VOA that China would participate in the OECD meeting as an observer.

“Aside from the Ministerial Council meeting, and more generally, the US government has conducted a comprehensive review of US-China trade relations as the United States welcomes healthy, fair competition with our trading partners. and economic with the PRC. Competition should be fair,” Murray said.

Blinken Head to Mexico

Blinken’s week-long visit includes a stop at Stanford University, as well as meetings in Mexico City from October 7-8 for US-Mexico high-level security talks.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said this week that he would join US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyercas and US Attorney General Merrick Garland to discuss security issues.

The high-level meeting comes amid the recent migration crisis as thousands of Haitian migrants gathered at the US-Mexico border last month.

The Biden administration confirmed on September 24 that a makeshift camp where 15,000 Haitian migrants faced depressing conditions at the US-Mexico border is now empty.

In late September, Mexico also began sending Haitian migrants back to their homeland.

Some information for this report has been obtained from The Associated Press and Reuters

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