Biden to host kumbaya meeting with Emmanuel Macron at Villa Bonaparte in first sit down since French fury over submarine deal
- President Joe Biden will host a kumbaya meeting with President of France Emmanuel Macron on Friday
- The two leaders will meet at the Villa Bonaparte, the French embassy to the Vatican situated in the heart of Rome
- The White House is making an all out effort to emphasis the importance of its relationship with France following French fury about Australia sub deal
- This is the first in-person meeting between Biden and Macron since then
- Jill Biden will host a separate sit down with French first lady Brigitte Macron
President Joe Biden will host a kumbaya meeting with President of France Emmanuel Macron on Friday as part of his make-up campaign following French fury over a U.S. submarine deal with Australia.
The two leaders will meet at the Villa Bonaparte, the French embassy to the Vatican situated in the heart of Rome. Their sit down comes ahead of their attendance at the G20 summit this weekend.
The Villa was originally the home of Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister Pauline, who had a bathtub carved out of the marble installed so she could bath in donkey milk, which she believed would help keep her looking young. It became an embassy in 1945.
Biden held two phone calls with Macron in the lead up to Friday afternoon’s meeting, which could be one of his more awkward sit downs in his five-day Europe trip. It is the two men’s first in-person meeting since the submarine deal with Australia was announced.
The White House is making an all out effort to emphasis the importance of its relationship with France, the United States’ oldest diplomatic ally.
Jill Biden will separately host a sit down with French first lady Brigitte Macron on Friday evening while their husbands have their meet-and-greet.
President Joe Biden will host a kumbaya meeting with President of France Emmanuel Macron on Friday, their first meeting since French anger at U.S.-Australia sub deal; above the two leaders at at NATO summit in Brussels in June
President Biden held two phone calls with Macron ahead of the sit down, including one in September as shown above
The United States has embarked on a wooing campaign of France after the French anger over AUKUS, a deal with the U.S., Australia and Britian that resulted in Australia buying American nuclear subs instead of diesel ones from the French.
White House officials said Biden has not formally apologized to Macron, according to press secretary Jen Psaki, but ‘he acknowledged that there could have been greater consultation’ ahead of the deal announcement, she noted.
The French recalled their ambassador to France in the fallout although Philippe Étienne eventually returned to his U.S. post.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan made separate trips to Paris to smooth over strained relations. Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Paris in mid-November.
‘We feel very good about the intensive engagement that we’ve had with France over the course of the past few weeks,’ Sullivan told reporters on Thursday.
He said he expects the two leaders to have a ‘constructive and deeply substantive meeting; where they will discuss counterterrorism and the Indo-Pacific along with energy and technology issues.
The Indo-Pacific conversation is of particular importance to the French after the submarine deal, which saw a shift in political alliances in the region.
France is especially angry over being kept in the dark about that situation since it has major interests in the Indo-Pacific, where France has territories with 2 million people and 7,000 troops.
The French were outraged in September about the AUKUS deal with one diplomat claiming the US ‘stabbed’ France in the back. Paris lost a $90 billion submarine deal with Australia in the fallout of the new agreement.
The White House claimed they thought Australia was keeping the French in the loop about what was going on.
The AUKUS deal is part of American moves to counter China’s growing power in the Pacific region.
The White House is making an all out effort to emphasis the importance of its relationship with France, the United States’ oldest diplomatic ally – above Macron and Biden at the G7 in June
Jill Biden will host a separate sit down with French first lady Brigitte Macron – above the two women at the G7 in Cornwall in June
As part of the deal, Britain and the U.S. agreed to provide Australia with nuclear submarine technology, largely-viewed as an effort to counter Chinese expansion in the South China Sea where it lays claim to several disputed islands.
Australia will get its hands on eight nuclear-powered submarines which will likely cost less than the $7.5billion-per vessel that France was offering for conventional diesel-electric submarines. While the exact design and costs of Australia’s subs have yet to be revealed, US Virginia-class nuclear subs cost around $4.5bn each and UK Astute-class $2.6bn each.
At the time the deal was announced, the French foreign minister said the deal was something Donald Trump would do.
‘This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do,’ Jean-Yves Le Drian told franceinfo radio. ‘I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.’