Extreme poverty and extreme wealth are growing around the world, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris told leaders Thursday at the Paris Peace Forum.
“By virtually every measure, the gaps have grown. We face a dramatic rise in inequality, and we must meet this moment,” she said, adding that no nation could fix these challenges alone.
“We must agree that these growing gaps are unacceptable, and we must agree to work together to address them,” she added, according to Agence France-Presse.
The forum, which opened Thursday in person and virtually, brought together about 30 heads of state, along with chief executives, nongovernmental organizations and others, to discuss global issues such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and digital transition.
The leaders of France, Italy, Argentina, Jordan, Morocco and other nations joined with Amazon, Google and YouTube, Meta, Microsoft, Snapchat and Twitter to call for better protection of children online. The U.S. is joining the call, made in 2018, to improve security and better regulate cyberspace, Harris announced.
Harris also will represent the United States at a summit Friday on Libya ahead of that country’s elections next month.
Earlier Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris to commemorate Armistice Day, while Harris observed the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe.
The event marked the 1918 agreement between Allied powers and Germany to end their fighting in World War I. A White House official said the ceremony was an opportunity to honor the French and American soldiers who died in the conflict.
It followed a Wednesday visit by Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, to Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial outside Paris, where they took part in a wreath-laying ceremony in observance of Armistice Day and Thursday’s Veterans Day holiday in the United States. The site honors American service members killed in both world wars and holds the remains of nearly 1,600 Americans.
Harris is visiting France as part of an effort to improve soured relations between the longtime allies. Both she and Macron described the opportunities for cooperation and the start of a “new era” as they spoke to reporters before meeting Wednesday at Elysee Palace.
“I look forward to the next few days where we’ll continue to work together and renew the focus that we’ve always had on our partnership and the benefit to the people of France and the people of the United States and the people of the world,” Harris said.
Symone Sanders, senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Harris, said in a statement that Macron and Harris discussed cooperation on transatlantic security, space exploration and preparing for future pandemics.
Relations between France and the United States plunged in September when Australia scrapped a $65 billion deal to buy traditional submarines from France in favor of an agreement in which Australia will build nuclear subs with the help of the United States and Britain.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.