Monday, January 30, 2023

Vice President Harris heads to Paris to work on US-French relations

WASHINGTON (AP) – Vice President Kamala Harris is involved in the White House offensive against the charm of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The vice president arrives in Paris on Tuesday for a four-day visit, the latest step in the Biden administration’s concerted efforts to strengthen the US relationship with America’s oldest ally. Washington’s relationship with Paris hit an all-time low this year after a US-UK submarine deal with Australia thwarted France’s deal with Australians.

Harris will sit with Macron at the Elysee Palace on Wednesday for talks that are expected to focus on how the two countries can better coordinate efforts in the Indo-Pacific.

The high-level meeting will take place less than two weeks after President Joe Biden met with Macron on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome and acknowledged that his administration was “awkward” about the submarine deal.

The US-UK agreement to provide Australia with submarine technology was framed as an opportunity for the US to bolster the naval capabilities of a key Pacific ally, as the Biden administration becomes increasingly concerned about China’s military aggression in the region.

But France was furious, claiming that it was in the dark about the deal and ignored, despite having territory in the Indo-Pacific with 2 million people and 7,000 troops.

The French also complained that the episode undermined Biden’s idea that he would stabilize and strengthen the transatlantic alliance after four years of President Donald Trump’s America-first approach to foreign policy.

France even briefly recalled its ambassador from the United States in protest – for the first time in 250 years of diplomatic relations between the countries.

Harris and Macron are also expected to touch on global health, space and other issues. Harris will visit the famous Pasteur Institute on Tuesday. Harris’s mother, who was a scientist, collaborated with scientists at the institute on breast cancer research in the 1980s.

Harris will deliver a speech Thursday at the annual Paris Peace Forum and the next day at the Paris Conference on Libya. She will be joined by her husband Douglas Emhoff.

The vice president wants to pick up where Biden left off in Rome, trying to clarify that he sees the relationship with France as critical to the United States.

To this end, she and Ehmhoff will visit the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial near Paris. The 7.5-acre (3 hectare) cemetery contains the remains of 1,559 Americans who died in World War I and 23 unidentified victims of World War II.

Harris will also take part in the Armistice Day ceremony, the French commemoration of the end of World War I. Thursday is also Veterans Day in the United States.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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