US Vice President Kamala Harris is set to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, aiming to restore relations between Washington and Paris after an argument over the cancellation of a submarine contract. Macron’s visit is part of Harris’s four-day trip through France.
In September, a violent row erupted between France and the United States when Australia withdrew from a submarine deal worth tens of billions of euros with the French defense company Naval in favor of a contract with the United States. This deal, known as AUKUS, is part of a new strategic alliance between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. This alliance was negotiated secretly for a long time, which made the French government feel even more cheated.
At the beginning of October, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a first attempt to resolve the crisis. That same month, President Joe Biden also attempted amendments. During a meeting with Macron in Rome, he told the French president that his government had been “clumsy” and “not elegant” in the way it negotiated the submarine deal with Australia. After that conversation, Macron noted that “this is the beginning of a process of trust.”
Harris and Macron are also expected to discuss US support for the French military mission against jihadists in the Sahel, as well as French-backed plans to bolster European defense capabilities.