VP Harris and France's Macron Discuss Cooperation

By VOA News February 16, 2021

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, expressing her commitment to strengthening bilateral relations, a White House statement said on Monday.

"Vice President Harris and President Macron agreed on the need for close bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change, and support democracy at home and around the world," the statement said.

Since President Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20, his administration has moved to rebuild ties with allies over global issues, a sharp break from the approach of former President Donald Trump, who advocated "America First."

In the weeks since Biden was inaugurated, the United States has rejoined the World Health Organization and is rejoining the Paris climate accord.

The call was the second Harris has had with a world leader since taking office, a sign that Harris, a former U.S. senator from California, may play a foreign policy role in the Biden administration. Earlier this month, Harris spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, her first call as vice president with a foreign leader.

According to the White House statement, Harris and Macron agreed on the need to combat regional unrest in the Middle East and Africa.

Harris praised Macron for his "leadership on the issue of gender equality and for France's contribution to NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover."

The phone call is the second between Washington and Paris since Biden took office and potentially bolsters Macron, who faces election next year. Macron has been criticized for poor management of the COVID-19 crisis and a weak French economy, as well as a failure to fight terrorism from Islamic extremists.

Macron is facing stiff opposition from his long-time challenger Marine Le Pen.

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