Biden, Macron agree to meet in Rome

Washington, Oct 23 (IANS): US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have agreed to meet in Rome later this month, the White House announced.

The agreement came during a phone conversation between the two leaders on Friday during which they also discussed efforts to support stability and security in the Sahel region in Africa, enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and enable a more capable European defence, Xinhua news agency quoted the White House as saying in a statement.

The statement added that Biden and Macron will meet in Rome later this month to continue their conversation on bilateral cooperation.

The White House however did not provide a date of the meeting.

In a separate statement, the White House said Vice President Kamala Harris will visit France next month to meet Macron and participate in the Paris Conference on Libya on November 12.

Harris' trip is seen as the Biden administration's continuing efforts to repair US-France relations, which suffered setbacks due to the controversial AUKUS nuclear submarine deal announced by the Washington, the UK and Australia last month.

In mid-September, the US and the UK said they would support the Australian Navy in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines under the newly formed trilateral security pact, depriving France of an existing contract to provide 12 conventional submarines to Australia.

Outraged by the abrupt move without consultations, France recalled its Ambassadors to the US and Australia in protest.

Biden admitted the issue could have been better handled during his last call with Macron in late September.



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