US, France edge closer to mending
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-Pacific 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-Pacific and other areas in the roughly 40-minute one-on-one session, according to a senior U.S. State Department official.
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 official 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 official didn’t elaborate on what those projects might be, but said they would likely involve the Indo-Pacific and Western efforts 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.