Biden and Macron in Rome: Strange handshake sight before the G-20

November 01, 2021
Biden gently touched Macron several times during the statement, as if to reassure him Photo: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP

Ahead of the G20 summit in Rome, US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron met on Friday. Topic: very serious. Scenes: funny and almost curious.

The meeting in Rome focused on the September submarine dispute between the US, Australia and France. On this topic, a conciliatory tone is struck.

"What we did was disgraceful," Biden admitted on Friday at a meeting at the French Embassy in the Holy See. “Not done with much grace.”

Biden and Macron also awkwardly lined up. The two heads of state have a really close relationship: at the reception, the presidential duo looked close, embracing, and Macron awkwardly took Biden's hand and stared into the camera.

French President Macron receives the US President at the French Embassy in RomePhoto: LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

At the next press conference, it went like this: There was clapping, wrinkles pulled, and when the two wanted to shake hands, they didn't seem to really set it up. The two of them looked at each other a little confused, awkwardly, stretching one hand over the other until they finally shook hands with a smile.

Biden: “France is a very important partner”

Biden said after the meeting that he was under the impression that France had been notified before the new submarine deal was announced. Because of the new alliance, announced without consultation, France lost billions of arms contracts. "I want to be very clear: France is a very important partner," Biden said.

What is important now, Macron said, is to make sure there are no such misunderstandings in the future. Macron said now the question is creating stronger cooperation with the United States. Earlier it was said from the Elysee Palace that the meeting was aimed at "restoring trust".

The spat between NATO partners came as the United States announced a new South Pacific security alliance with Britain and Australia in September. Therefore, Australia should be given access to US technology to build and operate nuclear submarines.

This means France has lost a billion-dollar diesel submarine company to Australia. This caused an angry reaction in Paris and raised doubts about the credibility of the Transatlantic Partnership. As a result, France withdrew its ambassador from a partner country for some time.

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