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Biden, Macron discuss efforts to enable stronger, more capable European defense
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 10 - 2021

US President Joe Biden spoke Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron during which they discussed "efforts to enable a stronger and more capable European defense while ensuring complementarity with NATO."
The White House said in a statement that two leaders also reviewed "ongoing efforts by their teams to support stability and security in the Sahel and to enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific."
It noted that Biden "looks forward to the meeting with Macron in Rome, Italy, later this month, where they will take stock of the many areas of US-France cooperation and reinforce our shared interests and common values as we take on challenges and opportunities together."
Biden also noted the visit by Vice President Kamala Harris to Paris next month "as a key opportunity to further enhance US-France cooperation on a range of global challenges."
Meanwhile, the Vice President's Senior Advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders said in a separate statement that Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff will travel to Paris in November.
The statement said that Harris would attend and deliver a speech at the fourth annual Paris Peace Forum on Nov. 11. She will also participate in the Paris Conference on Libya on Nov. 12.
The statement added "while in Paris, the vice president will meet with Macron during which they will discuss the importance of the trans-Atlantic relationship to global peace and security and underscore the importance of our partnership on global challenges from COVID-19 and the climate crisis to issues affecting the Sahel and the Indo-Pacific."
In September, Biden and Macron in a joint statement after a phone call between the two leaders, had said the two leaders would meet to iron out their differences.
The United States also offered further language intended to placate Paris. It said Biden would meet Macron in Europe next month, backed French and European engagement in the Indo-Pacific and supported greater European defense capabilities.
The call between the two presidents took place a week after Australia announced it was pulling out of a multi-billion dollar submarine supply deal with France and forming a new security and technology-sharing pact with the United States and Britain, which would include the construction of US submarines.
The move, a response to Chinese military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, sparked a diplomatic crisis as it infuriated the French government, which accused its US, Australian and British allies of a stab in the back.
France took the unprecedented step of recalling its ambassadors in Washington and Canberra, threatened to torpedo EU-Australian trade negotiations and pushed for the postponement of EU-US talks on technology and trade. — Agencies

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