What sub spat? Harris didn't discuss it with French leader

·1 min read

PARIS (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris says she didn’t discuss the secret submarine deal that sent U.S.-French relations to a historic low when she met this week with French President Emmanuel Macron.

On a four-day trip to France seen as a charm offensive, Harris said that instead she focused on “our mutual interest” in European security and Africa.

Both sides stressed that relations are moving into a “new era” — and the fact that they didn't even talk about the submarine problem drove that point home.

A secretly negotiated U.S.-British submarine deal with Australia forced a prior deal with France to be scrapped. More importantly for the French, they were not informed of the discussions despite being America's oldest allies. They felt blindsided and accused the Biden administration of actions reminiscent of the Trump era.

The dispute “was not the purpose of the trip and we didn’t discuss it,” Harris told reporters Friday. At her meeting Wednesday with Macron, she said, “What we did discuss is the issues that are challenging us."

She said her presence itself in France shows “the importance of alliances" and the “strength and fragility” of diplomatic relationships. “We can't take relationships for granted,” she added.

She and Macron agreed Wednesday that their countries are ready to work together again. Her trip comes after President Joe Biden told Macron the U.S. had been “clumsy” in handling the submarine issue.

The Associated Press

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