Vice President Kamala Harris begins a five-day visit to Paris on Tuesday that will include bilateral talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in the wake of his recent meeting with US counterpart Joe Biden, as the two countries work to mend relations after a dispute related to the AUKUS pact.
The US sparked a diplomat feud with France by agreeing to sell nuclear-powered submarines to Australia as part of the new AUKUS partnership, which negated a deal Paris had with Canberra.
Biden during talks with Macron at last month’s G20 summit conceded that the US handled the situation clumsily and the two leaders agreed to launch new initiatives to boost ties.
“This visit from the Vice President [Harris] really signals the strength of our alliance as our nations work together to advance prosperity, security and stability as we take on multiple existential threats and seize new opportunities,” a senior administration official told reporters last week. “The Vice President will speak to many of those during her trip.”
Harris will participate in several key events throughout the week, including in a bilateral meeting with Macron, but will also join the Paris Peace Forum as well as the Paris Conference on Libya.
On Tuesday, Harris is scheduled to tour the world renowned Institute Pasteur where she will meet US and French scientists working on the novel coronavirus and on global pandemic preparedness.
The following day, Harris and Macron will hold a bilateral meeting at the Elysee Palace where they are expected to discuss a wide-range of issues pertaining to bilateral relations, European security, the Indo-Pacific, global health and space.
On Thursday, Harris will attend the opening ceremony of the fourth annual Paris Peace Forum hosted by Macron. This year, the forum will focus on existing global health gaps, the post-COVID-19 recovery and will consider “new principles of action” for the post-COVID-19 world.
At the end of her stay on Friday, Harris is scheduled to participate in the Paris Conference on Libya, co-hosted by Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. More than 20 heads of state and government from throughout the region and the world are expected to attend the event.