President Joe Biden met French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday at the G20 summit in Rome, Italy and addressed Washington’s rift with Paris over a US security pact with Britain and Australia, saying what the US did was “clumsy”.
Biden used the opportunity to turn the page on a relationship that came under strain over the US-Australia security alliance, known as AUKUS, which also includes the United Kingdom.
The pact effectively cancelled a 2016 Australian-France submarine deal.
Biden said the handling of the issue was “clumsy” and he was under the impression that France had already been informed that their deal with Australia was not going through.
He also said the US does not have an older and more loyal ally than France and that there is no place in the world where the US cannot co-operate with France.
Biden and Macron had spoken to each other following the rift and discussed security co-operation in Africa, Europe and the Indo-Pacific.
President Emmanuel Macron said his meeting with President Joe Biden would allow France and the US  to rebuild trust following the rift.
The two leaders shared a warm handshake for the cameras after Biden kept Macron waiting for more than one-and-a-half hours, before sitting down to talks over climate, counter-terrorism in West Africa and European defence.
“What really matters now is what we do together in the coming weeks, in the coming months,” Macron said in opening remarks at France’s embassy to the Vatican.
“It’s an important meeting because after the AUKUS affair, we have embarked on a veritable joint project,” Macron said.
Macron said there had since been “indispensable clarification as to what constitutes European sovereignty and European defence and what they can bring to global security.”
Earlier Biden had a private audience with Pope Francis .
The president hailed the pontiff as “the most significant warrior of peace I have ever met”, in a meeting at the Vatican lasting more than an hour - longer than his two predecessors were given.
It was closed to the media but footage released by the Vatican showed a good-humoured gathering full of smiles.
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