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Macron, Harris paper over diplomatic spat with smiles – POLITICO

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris dodged questions Wednesday in regards to the latest diplomatic disaster between their two international locations, opting as a substitute for a photo-op on the Elysée doorstep.

“I’m very happy to be in Paris,” Harris said in response to a question by a reporter about whether or not she must make amends, as she arrived on the presidential palace in Paris on Wednesday night for a bilateral assembly with Macron.

It has fallen to Harris to wrap up the months-long American contrition/non-contrition tour to fix the bitter feud with France over AUKUS, the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific strategic alliance with the U.Okay. and Australia, which sidelined France and stripped it of a large submarine contract with Canberra in September.    

Macron additionally ignored a query from the reporter about whether or not the connection between the 2 international locations had been repaired, although he did inform Harris he was “extremely grateful for [her] presence.”  

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“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 stated on the high of his assembly with Harris.  

The U.S. vice chairman probably received’t be apologizing for the diplomatic slight any greater than her boss Joe Biden did when he met Macron on the finish of October in Rome forward of the G20 summit.  

This is the primary time the 2 have met in individual, although they spoke on the telephone final February. It is the third high-profile international journey Harris has taken in latest months in an effort to beef up her international coverage credentials. A visit to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this yr was marred by gaffes related to the U.S. southern border and a trip to Singapore went largely unnoticed.  

“When the United States and France have worked together on challenges and opportunities, we have always found great success because of shared values and shared priorities,” Harris stated at the beginning of the assembly with Macron.  

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On Thursday morning, they may each attend an Armistice Day ceremony commemorating the top of World War I and within the afternoon they may launch the Paris Peace Forum, Macron’s marquee multilateralism occasion on world governance.  

“It’s symbolically very powerful to launch the Paris Peace Forum this year by the side of a representative of the American government, the vice president,” stated an adviser to Macron.  

A previous plan to ask Biden was scrapped as soon as it turned apparent that he wouldn’t make two journeys to Europe 10 days aside, attending each the back-to-back G20 summit in Rome and COP26 local weather summit in Glasgow on the finish of October after which returning this week to Paris.  

U.S. officers implicitly tried to dispel any doubt France was getting second-rate billing with Harris stepping in as a substitute. They insisted — repeatedly — to journalists that her journey was a serious sign of the significance of the alliance between the 2 international locations. 

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“U.S.-French partnership matters to the world. It also matters to the American people, because what we do together is really critical for both of our nations as well as the entire international community,” stated a senior U.S. administration official forward of Harris’ go to. “This trip is extremely important.”  

It’s additionally essential for Harris, personally, at a time when solely 28 % of Americans approve of her, in accordance with a new national poll from USA TODAY/Suffolk University, although international coverage hardly ever helps American politicians’ reputation scores.  

Harris isn’t very well-known in France, and her go to hasn’t obtained a lot native media consideration but. 

On Friday, Harris will even signify the U.S. at a summit on Libya.  

“The vice president is exercising American leadership on consequential global challenges and issues,” the administration official stated. “This is a great opportunity for her to continue to develop her partnership [with] 25 other world leaders that will be attending both these events: the Paris Peace Forum as well as the Libya conference in Paris.” 

The theme of this yr’s discussion board is centered on gaps in world governance, particularly world well being, and post-COVID financial restoration and inequalities. These subjects have been additionally on the coronary heart of Macron and Harris’ telephone conversation final February. 

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