U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday the U.S. and France have renewed their “mutual commitment” to collaborate on combatting global terrorism, particularly in Africa’s troubled Sahel region.
“We have a mutual concern there that relates to the ongoing challenges that the countries in the Sahel are facing. Among the many priorities that we share is a concern about what we need to do to address potential violence and ongoing violence,” Harris said at a Paris news conference.
Harris is on a four-day visit to France as part of the Biden administration’s effort to improve soured relations between the longtime allies.
Ties between France and the United States plunged to a historic low 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.
“That was not the purpose of this trip, and we didn’t discuss it,” Harris said.
Harris said she and Macron did discus cooperation on transatlantic security, space exploration and global health issues such as the coronavirus pandemic that has led to a dramatic rise in inequality.
“This pandemic has in many ways has highlighted, has magnified the longstanding, pre-pandemic failures and fractures and fissures in our systems,” Harris said. “And so, we talked about what we can do together to address these inequities and the inequality that has existed since the beginning of time around the world.”
Harris will represent the U.S. Friday at a summit with world leaders on Libya ahead of that country’s elections next month. The summit is aimed at ensuring elections are held as scheduled in the North African country that has been torn by civil war since the overthrow of Moammar Ghadafi in 2011.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.