Biden and Macron meet during state visit to focus on Ukraine and Gaza

PARIS – President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron are scheduled to meet on a state visit on Saturday. America and its oldest ally.

Biden’s five-day trip to France, which has so far focused on celebrating the 80th anniversary of D-Day, has now shifted to address modern-day challenges, with intractable conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza dominating the agenda.

Between a lavish state banquet at the Elysee Palace and a military parade on the Champs-Élysées, Biden and Macron will spend considerable time in meetings with key aides trying to find consensus on key issues of policy. The two will meet for a working lunch, hold a bilateral meeting and issue statements to the press.

“One of the things the president respects and admires most about President Macron is that he’s as honest and forthright as Joe Biden,” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “That’s what he wants to see in a friend and partner — the ability to shoot straight, say what’s on your mind.”

Macron’s willingness to speak out — sometimes openly breaking with the U.S. on key issues — has at times caused headaches for U.S. officials.

get caught

Short stories for quick information

Macron has floated sending NATO troops into Ukraine to fight Russia, and Biden has repeatedly declared that no US service members will participate in that war. He expressed outrage at Israel’s attack on Gaza, calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, even as Biden maintained his staunch support for the Israelis. He has openly warned that Europe needs to assert more control over its own affairs rather than rely on less-than-effective American leadership amid political turmoil in recent years.

See also  After a right-wing backlash, Target pulls back Pride merchandise

“However strong our alliance with the United States is, we are not their priority,” Macron said during a speech on Europe at Sorbonne University in April. “They have two priorities: themselves — enough — and China.”

Despite US officials’ disagreements, the bilateral relationship remains as strong as ever, and the alignment between Washington and Paris will be on full display during the state visit. With key elections in both countries this year, Biden and Macron are united in their desire to thwart the advance of right-wing nationalist impulses in their countries represented by former presidents Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen. National rally in France.

Biden and Macron plan to make announcements on deepening Indo-Pacific maritime cooperation, expanding their cooperation on humanitarian programs and disaster response, and deepening their partnership on climate issues, Kirby said. The two held separate meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on Friday, after their public statements revealed a rift between the US and France over how to stop Russia’s advances in Ukraine.

Biden apologized to Zelensky for the delay in the US aid package to Kyiv, blaming Republican lawmakers for withholding much-needed funding. He also pledged $225 million in military support and said Ukraine would receive more financial aid to defend itself.

“I can assure you that America is going to stand with you,” Biden said. “You are a bastion of aggression. We have an obligation to be there.

While Biden is speaking metaphorically, Macron is increasingly leaning toward the idea that Western troops should be physical and stand their ground with Ukrainian soldiers.

See also  Unlocks the strange mystery of fast radio bursts

Macron said on Friday that the bloc of nations had agreed to send military trainers to Ukraine, raising the possibility that NATO troops would soon be in the war-torn country.

“We are going to use the coming days to finalize as broad an alliance as possible,” he said.

Biden has long rejected the possibility of grounding US troops in Ukraine, a position he has held since the start of the conflict and one aide says he is unlikely to change. Biden expressed concern about escalating the war with Russia or provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin to expand the war beyond Ukraine’s borders.

The Gaza war will also be on the agenda during the bilateral meeting. Macron has increasingly expressed his concern over Israel’s behavior, saying the recent deadly attacks in Rafah are unacceptable and insisting on a ceasefire. Biden, further isolated on the world stage by his support for Israel, will use his meeting to build on his latest proposal to reach a ceasefire that would require Hamas militants to release hostages in Gaza.

Biden has largely avoided talking about the situation in Gaza since landing in France on Wednesday, focusing instead on the war in Ukraine as he drew comparisons between World War II and Europe’s biggest war.

Biden has had limited engagement with the press during his trip and will not hold a news conference, which is traditionally a part of US presidents’ state visits and foreign trips.

Macron, 46, who is significantly younger than the US president and represents a pressure brand of politics, has become a key figure in the 81-year-old Biden’s presidency.

See also  Extreme heat could test California's power grid like never before. By this the public can avoid power outage

On the campaign trail, Biden often says one of his first meetings with Macron was during the Group of Seven meeting in 2021, driving home the importance of preventing Trump from returning to the White House. During the meeting, Biden says he sat before other world leaders and declared, “America is back.”

“Macron looked at me and said, ‘How long? For how long?'” Biden said at a recent fundraiser.

Biden and Macron are scheduled to meet next week at the G-7 meeting in Italy and next month at the NATO summit in Washington.

“These are not two people who are strangers to each other,” Kirby said. “They are not two men who are afraid to speak their minds. But they may not see every issue the same way, and that doesn’t mean the relationship is weak or hindered or in any way regressive.

Annabelle Timsit in Paris contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *