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Harris, Macron Meet Amid US Push to Ease Tensions With Ally

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French President Emmanuel Macron stands next to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris as she waves before a bilateral meeting at Élysée Palace in Paris, France, Nov. 10, 2021.

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris for talks Wednesday at Elysee Palace with an agenda that included climate change, the economy, global health and supply chain issues.

The U.S. vice president’s trip to France is the latest step in a push to improve soured relations with the country’s oldest ally. Prior to entering the Elysee Palace for talks late Wednesday, Harris responded, “I love Paris,” when asked by a reporter whether she needs to make amends.

Relations between the two countries plunged in September when Australia scrapped a $65 billion deal to buy traditional submarines from France in favor of an agreement in which Australia will build nuclear subs with the help of the United States and Britain.

U.S. President Joe Biden told Macron in Rome last month that the United States had been “clumsy” in its handling of the matter.

A senior U.S. administration official told reporters Tuesday that the bilateral meeting was important because the U.S. relationship with France is a global one, and that France and other European allies are key to the future of the United States.

Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a wreath-laying ceremony to mark Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day in France at Suresnes, France, Nov. 10, 2021.
Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a wreath-laying ceremony to mark Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day in France at Suresnes, France, Nov. 10, 2021.

Before the meeting with Macron, Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, took part in a wreath laying Wednesday at Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial outside Paris to mark the U.S. Veterans Day holiday and Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of World War I. The site honors American service members killed in both world wars and holds the remains of nearly 1,600 Americans.

Harris and Macron will take part in a further Armistice Day ceremony as it is observed on Thursday.

Harris will also represent the Biden administration Thursday at the Paris Peace Forum and at a summit Friday on Libya ahead of that country’s elections next month.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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