Harris’s trip to Paris indicates the relationship is back on track

As they embraced each other, the friendly chemistry that had begun to emerge between the pair was on display for all to see, an outward sign of the latest attempt by the United States to mend its relationship with France following an underwater affair that sparked a rift. diplomatic between the two. two old allies.

“It’s important for us to be here,” Harris told Macron as they hugged. “We have a long and shared history and a future.”

The moment was just one of several images that defined Harris’s closely choreographed five-day trip to the French capital and told the story that Harris, and President Joe Biden, who sent her there, intended to tell: that of a French. The American relationship returns to normal.

The trip also served as an opportunity for Harris to emerge onto the European diplomatic stage for the first time as vice president, successfully playing a major foreign policy role for the Biden administration after stumbling during his first overseas trip to Mexico and Guatemala in June.

“I will tell you that it was a very productive and good trip,” Harris told reporters on Saturday, “and we have a lot of things to follow up … Our work will continue, and we do so with optimism, but a strong conviction that the association between the United States and France remains and will continue to be very strong. “

Unlike June, where Harris’ stumbling blocks in an interview overshadowed an otherwise successful trip, Harris managed to avoid controversy and steer clear of diplomatic and political minefields. He left France on Saturday and is scheduled to arrive in Washington later that day.

When asked by CNN about Macron’s push for a European strategic autonomy and a European military, a sensitive and nuanced issue in the relationship, Harris sidestepped it, simply saying that the “support and alignment” between the United States and France would continue. And even as the breach of trust with France over the US-Australian submarine deal propelled Harris to the French capital, Harris and his advisers said the issue did not arise with Macron.

“I will tell you that that was not the purpose of this trip, and we did not discuss it,” Harris said Friday, speaking to reporters in Paris. The vice president was asked if she believed she had done the work to repair the relationship, after the botched deal.

“What we do discuss are the issues that challenge us and the issues that are the foundation of this relationship and the strength and resilience of this relationship,” he added.

Harris’s trip produced just two tangible deals, an expanded space cooperation between the US and France and a decision by the US to sign the Paris Call for Confidence and Security in Cyberspace, a French initiative that establishes the rules of the road in cyberspace. But while French officials are still eager to see the United States take concrete action to bolster European defenses, the lack of tangible results on that front during this trip did not cause any distress in Paris.

After largely burying the hatchet with Biden before the G20 in Rome last month, Macron seemed largely content to revel in the gesture of the vice president’s presence in Paris and the gesture of a long journey as the next step. in the process.

“I want to thank you for your presence. You are more than welcome not only in this palace with me and my ministers, but I can tell you that the French are extremely proud to have you here today,” Macron said as he opened the door. a meeting with Harris on the Elysee, adding in French that he was “extremely grateful” for his visit.

Harris’s visit to the Elysee gave her and Macron the opportunity to spend time one-on-one, with no assistants present, before sitting down for a bilateral meeting that dragged on in time, prompting French protocol officials to enter. to the room three times in an effort. to conclude the meeting.

Harris and Macron laughed at those attempts the next morning when they met for the Armistice Day Ceremony.

Beyond their time together, Harris’s solo visits were also powerful moments of diplomatic messages.

Harris’s attendance of several hours and comments from Harris at the Paris Peace Forum helped lend credibility to a Macron initiative. His visit to the French Pasteur Institute for Biomedical Research highlighted long-standing Franco-American cooperation in scientific research, as well as Harris’s personal connection to that cooperation in the form of his mother’s research at the institute in the 1980s. And a final visit to one of the sites of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris on the sixth anniversary underscored shared values ​​and a commitment to fighting terrorism.

But it was Harris’s visit to the Suresnes American Cemetery, where Americans who fought and died in France during WWI and WWII are buried, that served as perhaps the most powerful reminder of the shared sacrifice between the two countries and a bond. deeply rooted. .

“If there is any question about why or what, in terms of our relationship as the United States with France, that is a visual and concrete example of the resistance and mutual commitment and interdependence between the United States and France,” he added. Harris said Friday, reflecting on his visit to the cemetery.

Reference-www.cnn.com

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