Americas, Europe

Macron-Biden phone call underlines 'great convergence'

First call highlights reset of French-US relations, agreements to work on global health, climate change and regional peace

Shweta Desai   | 25.01.2021
Macron-Biden phone call underlines 'great convergence'

PARIS

French president Emmanuel Macron noted "great convergence of views" on multilateral issues and international security in his first call with the new US president, Joe Biden.

In a statement late Sunday, the Elysee Palace said Macron had a “friendly and in-depth working conversation” and “underlined his determination to act alongside the US to implement common goals.”

The special relationship between France and the US under Donald Trump’s presidency blew hot and cold as the two leaders turned from friend to foe in full public glare.

In 2018, Trump attacked Macron in a series of tweets citing the French president’s “low approval rating” and replicating his slogan with “Make France Great Again,” after attending the centenary commemoration of World War I.

Macron in response said France was not a “vassal state.” On other occasions, meetings between the two leaders were marked with awkward smiles and intense handshakes.

The press release said Macron and Biden hoped to work on global health under the WHO framework, and on climate change under the Paris Agreement from which Trump had withdrawn.

It noted in particular the convergences and will to act together “on the Iranian nuclear issue and on the situation in Lebanon,” which the readout from the White House made no mention of.

Last week, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian remarked that there was an urgent need for Washington to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed by the US and European countries with Iran, as the latter was in the process of building up its nuclear weapons capacity.​​​​​​​

The White House shared Biden’s commitment to bolstering the transatlantic relationship through NATO and the EU, as well as working on shared foreign policy priorities, including China, the Middle East, Russia, and the Sahel.

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