Biden, Macron discussed European defense, will meet in Rome -White House

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden talks with French President Emmanuel Macron at the final session of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall in Britain, June 13, 2021. Doug Mills/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday discussed security cooperation in Africa, Europe and the Indo-Pacific, as the two countries work to mend fences after a rift over a U.S. security pact with Britain and Australia.

Biden and Macron plan to continue their discussions when they meet this month in Rome at a summit of leaders from the Group of 20 major economies, the White House said.

Vice President Kamala Harris also will meet with Macron during a visit to Paris in November, the White House said, underscoring efforts to repair ties between the United States and France after Australia scrapped a French submarine contract in favor of a pact with Washington and London last month.

The visits follow a trip by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Paris earlier this month, where he said he had "very positive, very productive" conversations with French leaders.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai also met with her French counterpart, Franck Riester, on Friday, on the sidelines of a Group of Seven trade minister conference, where she stressed the U.S. commitment to "strengthening the bilateral relationship with France," her office said in a statement.

In his call with Macron, Biden reviewed ongoing efforts by both countries to support stability and security in the Sahel region and to enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, as well as efforts to enable a stronger European defense, the White House said.

"President Biden looks forward to the meeting with President Macron in Rome later this month, where they will continue the conversation, take stock of the many areas of U.S.-France cooperation, and reinforce our shared interests and common values as we take on challenges and opportunities together," it said.

Harris will meet with Macron while in Paris to deliver a speech at the fourth annual Paris Peace Forum on Nov. 11 and participate in the Paris Conference on Libya on Nov. 12, her spokesperson Symone Sanders said in a statement.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Andrea Shalal, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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