Macron visits US in hope of mending ties after submarine deal debacle

AP - Manuel Balce Ceneta

French President Emmanuel Macron is in Washington today to discuss a range of issues – from aligning policy on Russia's invasion of Ukraine to easing trade spats – with US counterpart Joe Biden.

The three-day visit is Macron's first under the presidency of Joe Biden and comes a year after a diplomatic row between Paris and Washington over an Australian submarine deal.

Macron, who attended a dinner at the White House with former president Donald Trump in 2018, becomes the first French leader to be honoured by two US state visits.

He will be accompanied by an entourage of foreign, defence and finance ministers, as well as business leaders and astronauts.

But one senior American official said that while there might be concrete "progress" in some fields, "this visit is about the personal relationship [and] the alliance relationship" with France.

"There are enormous opportunities to cooperate between the Biden administration and the Macron government," said Martin Quencez, deputy director of the Paris office of thinktank GMF.

"But for various reasons, cooperation and coordination haven't gone as far as one might imagine."

Australian submarines

The political temperature between Paris and Washington has calmed considerably in the 12 months since the US snatched a lucrative contract to supply Australia with submarines from France, and launched a new US-UK-Australia alliance dubbed AUKUS.

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