Connect with us

World

‘Trust is like love,’ it must be earned, Macron says after Biden meet

Published

on

October 29, 2021

By Jeff Mason and Michel Rose

ROME (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said his government’s handling of a security agreement with Australia and Britain had been “clumsy” and sought to turn the page during his first meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron since a diplomatic crisis last month between Washington and its oldest ally.

The two leaders shared warm words, and friendly body language, but Macron said later that France’s trust needed to be regained by deeds, not words.

Advertisement

The relationship came under strain over the U.S.-Australia security alliance, known as AUKUS, which also includes the United Kingdom. It included a submarine sale agreement with Australia that effectively canceled a 2016 Australian-French submarine deal.

The U.S. decision to secretly negotiate https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/aukus-deal-ensure-peace-security-indo-pacific-says-us-admiral-2021-10-14 drew outrage from Paris. France temporarily recalled its ambassador from Washington, canceled a gala in the U.S. capital and officials accused Biden https://www.reuters.com/world/us-move-dislodge-france-australia-submarine-deal-is-incoherent-french-ministers-2021-09-15 of acting like former President Donald Trump.

“I think what happened was, to use an English phrase, what we did was clumsy. It was not done with a lot of grace,” Biden said. “I was under the impression certain things had happened that hadn’t happened. And – but I want to make it clear: France is an extremely, extremely valued partner – extremely – and a power in and of itself.”

Biden also noted the United States does not have an older and more loyal ally than France and said there is no place where the two nations cannot cooperate.

“I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not going through. I, honest to God, did not know you had not been,” Biden told Macron.

Advertisement

Macron said his meeting with Biden was “important” and that it was essential to “look to the future” as his country and the United States work to mend fences.

Biden and Macron showed warm body language, with clasped hands and arms on each others’ backs when they greeted one another. They shook hands a few times while journalists watched the beginning of their meeting.

“What really matters now is what we will do together in the coming weeks, the coming months, the coming years,” Macron said.

‘PROOF IS BETTER’

Macron told reporters afterward that the meeting with Biden had been helpful, with a “strong” U.S. commitment about European defense, but what happened next was important.

Advertisement

“Trust is like love: Declarations are good, but proof is better,” Macron said.

A senior U.S. administration official said after the meeting that the two sides were “moving forward” in their relationship and, after difficult conversations in September and October, talks were now more engaging.

Biden and Macron had a discussion about the rise of China and the questions that poses for democracies and market economies, the official said. They also discussed Iran, supply chains, steel and aluminum tariffs and trade.

The two nations issued a lengthy joint statement after the meeting painting themselves as global democratic partners in the fight against a range of challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis and ensuring the “indivisible security” of the NATO alliance.

Washington has taken several steps to fix the relationship with Paris since the rift last month.

Advertisement

Biden and Macron spoke to each other https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/biden-macron-discuss-european-defense-will-meet-rome-white-house-2021-10-22 last week. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also visited Paris, where he acknowledged the United States could have “communicated better.” Vice President Kamala Harris also announced that she would travel to Paris in November and meet with Macron.

Biden and Macron met at the Villa Bonaparte, the French embassy to the Vatican, which a French diplomat said was a significant mark of goodwill from Biden.

“It’s an important gesture,” the French diplomat said, adding that the United States recognized that it had underestimated the impact of its actions.

France now wants to see if Biden follows his words with actions. “Trust is being rebuilt. This is one step. Tokens of goodwill were given, we’ll see whether they follow through over the long term,” the diplomat said.

Biden and Macron are in Rome for the Group of 20 summit of world leaders, which opens on Saturday.

Advertisement

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Michel Rose in Rome, Writing by Nandita Bose and Patricia Zengerle in Washington, Editing by Franklin Paul, Heather Timmons, David Gregorio, Marguerita Choy and Daniel Wallis)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

Taiwan, Europe must defend democracy together, president says

Published

on

November 29, 2021

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan and Europe must work together to defend against authoritarianism and disinformation, President Tsai Ing-wen told visiting lawmakers from the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Monday.

Lithuania has faced sustained pressure from China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, since allowing the opening of a de facto Taiwanese embassy in its capital.

Beijing has ramped up military and diplomatic pressure on Taipei to accept Chinese sovereignty claims and to limit its international participation, though Tsai says Taiwan will not bow to threats and will defend its freedom and democracy.

Advertisement

Tsai told the lawmakers at the Presidential Office that Taiwan and the Baltic nations – once part of the Soviet Union – share similar experiences of breaking free from authoritarian rule and of fighting for freedom.

“The democracy we enjoy today was hard earned. This is something we all understand most profoundly,” she said.

“Now the world faces challenges posed by the expansion of authoritarianism and threat of disinformation. Taiwan is more than willing to share its experience at combating disinformation with its European friends. We must safeguard our shared values to ensure our free and democratic way of life.”

Matas Maldeikis, leader of the Lithuanian parliament’s Taiwan Friendship Group, told Tsai in response their group was in Taipei to express their solidarity with the island.

“Lithuanian government policy towards Taiwan has wide support in our society. Preserving freedom and the rules-based international order is in the vital interests for both Taiwan and Lithuania,” he said.

Advertisement

There is much opportunity for economic and cultural cooperation, added Maldeikis, whose trip has been condemned by China.

No European Union member state has official ties with Taiwan.

The United States has strongly backed its NATO ally Lithuania in its spat with China.

Lithuania faces problems too with pressure from Russia and Belarus, with migrants on its border with Belarus.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Richard Pullin)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Australia’s reopening plans in doubt after Omicron cases

Published

on

November 29, 2021

By Renju Jose

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will review its plans to reopen borders to skilled migrants and students from Dec. 1, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, after the country reported its first cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Two people who arrived in Sydney from southern Africa tested positive on Sunday for the newly identified variant as officials ordered 14-day quarantine for citizens returning from nine African countries.

Advertisement

Morrison said “it is a bit too early” to reinstate two-week mandatory hotel quarantine for foreign travellers, urging people to remain calm as data had not yet fully determined the severity, transmissibility and vaccine resistance of the Omicron strain.

“So we just take this one step at a time, get the best information, make calm, sensible decisions,” Morrison told Nine News.

Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, is potentially more contagious than previous variants. But experts do not know yet if it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other strains.

Morrison said the national security committee will meet later on Monday to assess the border reopening relaxations due from Wednesday. A meeting of leaders of all states and territories will be held by Tuesday, he said.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he had asked the country’s immunisation advisory group to review the time frame for COVID-19 booster shots. About 87% of Australia’s population above 16 years of age have been fully vaccinated, above the rates seen in the United States, Britain and many countries in Western Europe.

Advertisement

Health officials in New South Wales said three people who arrived on Sunday from southern Africa had tested positive for COVID-19 and that genomic sequencing was underway to check if they were infected with the Omicron strain.

The new variant has emerged as Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s largest cities, had begun to allow vaccinated citizens entry from overseas without quarantine from Nov. 1, having shut their borders for more than 18 months.

Both cities have tightened their travel rules with all international travellers ordered to quarantine for 72 hours. Other states have not opened their borders to foreign travellers yet due to varying vaccination rates.

Australia has so far recorded about 209,000 coronavirus cases and 1,997 deaths since the pandemic began.

(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by David Gregorio and Stephen Coates)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Earthquake hits remote northern Peru, 75 homes destroyed, no deaths reported

Published

on

November 29, 2021

By Marco Aquino

(Reuters) – A 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook the remote Amazon region of northern Peru on Sunday and was felt as far as Lima in the center of the country, destroying 75 homes but with no deaths reported.

The seismological center of the Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP) said the earthquake had a depth of 131 kilometers (81 miles) and that the epicenter was 98 kilometers from the town of Santa Maria de Nieva in the province of Condorcanqui.

Advertisement

The quake was felt throughout central and northern Peru. Some residents left their homes as a precaution, according to local radio and television reports.

No damage was reported to the 1,100-kilometer oil pipeline of state-owned Petroperu that crosses the Peruvian Amazon region to the Pacific coast in the north.

The National Institute of Civil Defense (Indeci) said in a statement that 220 homes were affected, 81 uninhabitable and 75 destroyed. Seven places of religious worship and two shopping centers were among damaged facilities, Indeci said, adding that four residents were injured.

President Pedro Castillo said through Twitter that he ordered the immediate deployment of support personnel and took a trip in a military plane to the area.

“We will support those affected and address material damage,” he said.

Advertisement

Walter Culqui, mayor of the town of Jalca Grande in Chachapoyas province, said several houses had been damaged, leaving three non-serious injuries. Part of the church tower in the area collapsed, he said.

Through social networks, electricity cuts were reported in several locations in jungle areas. Local TV images showed stretches of roads blocked by huge rocks and dirt that had been knocked loose.

The U.S. warning system said there was no tsunami warning after the earthquake.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino in Lima and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru, writing by Hugh Bronstein, Editing by Catherine Evans and Mark Porter)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending