Harris says she did not discuss submarine deal with Macron during meeting in Paris

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

“What we discussed were the issues that were challenging us and the issues that underlie this relationship and the strength and longevity of this relationship,” she added.

“For example, we talked about our common interests in the Western Hemisphere and issues that range from current challenges to relationships one could argue need to be strengthened and some could even be said to have been overlooked? of our common interest, and in many ways France’s long-term focus, on the African continent.”

Mr Harris’ trip is the latest attempt by the Biden administration to revive France-US relations less than two months after America’s oldest allies were blindsided by a decision to help Australia develop nuclear submarines. private – sink France’s submarine deal with Australia in the process. . The visit is Ms. Harris’s first to Europe in her new role, an important diplomatic test of the vice president and an opportunity to cement her foreign policy achievements after the visit. First foreign trip fraught with difficulties earlier this year.

Harris said she and Macron talked about “the importance of paying attention to those relationships and understanding their strength and fragility, that is. We can’t take relationships for granted. is obvious. They must be present”

Harris said that’s one of the reasons why she and Biden have traveled abroad during the pandemic – to be “present”.

“As it pertains to me, as vice president, I think there’s no question that I’m here as the representative of my country. And my presence here reflects reflects the priorities that the United States has as well as in relation to France,” Harris said of her role.

Harris said she and Macron also discussed humanitarian situation on the border of Poland and Belarus. Thousands of people are stranded at the Polish-Belarusian border in dire conditions, trapped at the heart of the growing dispute between Belarus and the European Union. Migrants – mostly from the Middle East and Asia, and those hoping to travel further from Poland into Europe – have concentrated on the Belarusian side of the Kuznica crossing. Authorities closed the intersection on Tuesday, with aerial footage showing large crowds gathering in the area.

“We’re very concerned and paying attention to it,” Harris said, “and the Lukashenko regime, which I believe is engaged in a very disturbing activity.”

“The eyes of the world and its leaders are watching,” Harris added.

After days in Paris, where locals and visitors had to show proof of being vaccinated against Covid-19 to eat out at restaurants and other public spaces, Harris said. The Biden administration will continue to leave this up to the “local community” to make decisions. on vaccinations, and do not switch to a vaccine passport like the one used in France.

“As you know, we’ve been very careful in guiding public policy where our role is to guide it based on what scientists and medical professionals tell us,” Harris said. . “As you know, we’re also letting the majority of local communities make those decisions.”

The “most important thing” the US needs to focus on right now, she said, “is that we now have the ability to vaccinate children that we have the ability to actually participate in the processes, behaviors and smart public health.”

“The challenge right now is to get everyone involved in saving their lives and the lives of your family members and their communities by understanding that that’s really one of the big challenges. our best, and we will continue to focus,” Harris said.


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