US President Joe Biden spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron and expressed the US’ desire to “strengthen bilateral ties with our oldest ally,” the White House said in a statement on Sunday.
Biden also emphasized “his commitment to bolstering the transatlantic relationship, including through NATO and the United States’ partnership with the European Union,” according to the statement.
The two leaders spoke for the first time since Biden‘s inauguration on Wednesday.
In a separate statement, Macron aides said the two leaders were in agreement on climate change and on ways to fight the coronavirus. They also discussed “their willingness to act together for peace in the Near and Middle East, in particular on the Iranian nuclear issue”, the Elysee palace said.
Biden and Macron pledged to work together on shared foreign policy priorities, including China, the Middle East, Russia, and West Africa’s Sahel region where France is leading an international military operation against Islamic extremists.
Dealing with Trump‘s legacy
The new US president reaffirmed his commitment to NATO which had been a bone of contention between Trump and European leaders.
Under Donald Trump, the US repeatedly questioned the alliance and accused other countries of not paying their fair share.
During the conversation with Biden, Macron stressed the importance of working jointly within the World Health Organization — which Trump has abandoned — to help ensure vaccine distribution to poor countries.
However, Macron’s office on Sunday also said that the two leaders would not shy away from thorny issues.
The US and the European Union have also imposed tit-for-tat tariffs over subsidies to US plane maker Boeing and its France-based rival, Airbus.
adi/dj (Reuters, AFP, AP)