- The Washington Times
Monday, September 26, 2022

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden will host their first state visit when French President Emmanuel Macron and first lady Brigitte Macron travel to Washington in December, the White House announced Monday.

The formal visit, which will include a state dinner on Dec. 1, will underscore “the deep and enduring relationship” between the two nations, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

“The leaders will discuss our continued close partnership on shared global challenges and areas of bilateral interest,” she said.

Mr. Macron has defended his decision to keep open lines of communication with Russian President Vladimir Putin during Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. He also is the first western leader to meet with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi amid a stalemate on efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear talks.

Relations between the U.S. and France hit a low point last year after the Biden administration went forward with a technology-sharing pact with the U.K. and Australia meant to counter China that undercut a multi-billion dollar conventional submarine deal between France and Australia, signed in 2016.

The fallout over the pact, known as AUKUS, led to France recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia last September in protest after being alerted to the agreement just hours before the countries formally announced the deal.

France‘s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused the U.S. and Australia of lying about the pact, and said the move was “a major breach of trust and contempt.”

France later reinstated its ambassadors after Mr. Biden spoke with Mr. Macron by phone.

Ms. Jean-Pierre said Mr. Biden has spoken with Mr. Macron on several occasions since taking office, sidestepping a question about whether the State Visit was a move to further mend ties between the two countries.

“This is a deeply valued relationship and one of our oldest allies,” she said.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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