Vice President Kamala Harris met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Wednesday to help mend a bitter diplomatic row over the AUKUS submarine pact that excluded France.
“I think we share this belief that we are at the start of a new era, which presents us with many challenges, but also many opportunities,” Harris told Macron in a brief public address at the Elysee Palace.
Macron and Harris avoided mentioning the September pact in which the US and UK agreed to build nuclear submarines for Australia in a bid to counter China. France was not notified or invited to participate in the deal, despite its nuclear expertise and possession of neighboring territories, and a French company lost a multibillion-dollar contract to build conventional submarines for the ‘Australia.
Macron recalled the French ambassador to Washington in protest and the French embassy in Washington canceled a party to celebrate France’s role in achieving independence from the United States.
President Biden told Macron at a meeting in Rome last month that the AKUS deployment was “awkward” and insisted he believed France had been made aware of the plan. Complaints between France and Australia continue after the Australian Financial Review recently published a leaked text message from Macron to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, implying that the French leader knew the deal with Australia was in progress. difficulty before the announcement of AUKUS.
Macron did not mention – at least publicly – his government‘s harsh rebuke of US actions around AUKUS. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian first described the agreement as “a stab in the back”.
Ironically, AUKUS was launched to patch up US-Australian relations after Biden snubbed Morrison during the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Australia fought alongside the United States throughout the 20 Years War but reportedly learned of the August 31 US withdrawal date from the media and Biden did not call Morrison during the frantic evacuation of Kabul.
Harris told Macron on Wednesday that she was looking forward to “a conversation about space.”
âAs you know, I chair the Space Council for the United States,â said the vice president, who recently shot a critical space-themed video with child actors.
“And we are thinking about the areas that we still need to explore together and the opportunities that present themselves not only in terms of security, but also the opportunities that I think will reinforce our priorities around the climate crisis and what we could do in terms. investment in terms of cooperation with the private sector, in terms of creating traffic rules with regard to this new frontier in space, âshe added.
Macron told Harris that “the French are extremely proud to have you here today” and that “we share the view that we are at the start of a new era. And now cooperation is absolutely essential.
Earlier Wednesday, Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff visited the Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris, which houses the remains of American troops who served in World War I and World War II.