The Oklahoman

US, France edge closer to mending

- Matthew Lee

PARIS – France and the United States edged closer Tuesday toward rapprochem­ent after the Biden administra­tion’s exclusion of Washington’s oldest ally from a Indo-Pacific security initiative ignited French anger.

French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Paris to explore ways to overcome the rift that led France to take the unpreceden­ted step of recalling its ambassador to the U.S.

Macron and Blinken explored potential U.S.-French cooperatio­n in the Indo-Pacific and other areas in the roughly 40-minute one-on-one session, according to a senior U.S. State Department official.

The meeting was the highest-level in-person contact between the two countries since the controvers­y erupted last month with the Sept. 15 announceme­nt of a three-way agreement between Australia, Britain and the U.S. that pointedly left out France and other European nations.

The State Department official said the two discussed possible joint projects that could be announced by Macron and President Joe Biden when they meet later this month in Europe. Macron and Biden agreed to try to repair the damage in a Sept. 22 phone call.

The official didn’t elaborate on what those projects might be, but said they would likely involve the Indo-Pacific and Western efforts to blunt China’s growing there and elsewhere, NATO and other trans-Atlantic objectives involving the European Union, and counterter­rorism cooperatio­n in Africa’s Sahel region.

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