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America back as a top partner under Biden, French president says

At G7 summit in southern England, US president also meets with German, British leaders

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron meet during a bilateral meeting at the G-7 summit, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Carbis Bay, England. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron meet during a bilateral meeting at the G-7 summit, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Carbis Bay, England. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday it’s good that US President Joe Biden is able to lead through cooperation, adding that the United States is “definitely” back as Europe’s partner.

Biden and Macron met Saturday as part of the Group of Seven summit in southwest England, where they and other leaders of the world’s wealthy democracies were discussing the coronavirus pandemic, the environment, national security, relations with China and economic issues.

Former US president Donald Trump took an adversarial approach with NATO allies, but Macron said Biden has shown that “leadership is partnership.”

The desire for cooperation cuts both ways. Biden described the European Union as “incredibly strong and vibrant,” which he said not only helps with tackling economic challenges but also provides a backbone for NATO.

Biden also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the G-7 summit.

A spokesman for the German chancellor tweeted two pictures of the leaders sitting at a table in Carbis Bay on Saturday.

Climate activists from Oxfam, wearing giant heads depicting the leaders of the G7, sit on beach chairs as they participate in an action on Swanpool Beach in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, Saturday, June 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

“At noontime on the second day of the G7 summit the chancellor talked to US President Biden in between the work meetings,” read the caption accompanying the photos.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert didn’t give any details about what the two discussed.

Merkel, who is leaving office later this year, plans to visit Biden in Washington next month. The president invited her to the White House earlier this week.

Meanwhile, after his first meeting with Biden at the summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the UK-US relationship as “indestructible.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, center, and his wife Carrie greet United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, during arrivals for the G7 meeting at the Carbis Bay Hotel in Carbis Bay, St. Ives, Cornwall, England, Saturday, June 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Pool)

“It’s a relationship, you can call it the ‘deep and meaningful relationship,’ whatever you want, the ‘indestructible relationship,'” Johnson said in a BBC interview broadcast Friday morning.

“It’s a relationship that has endured for a very long time, and has been an important part of peace and prosperity both in Europe and around the world.”

During their face-to-face meeting Thursday, the two leaders discussed “about 25 subjects in some detail,” including the Brexit-induced disruption in Northern Ireland, he said.

Johnson played down the displeasure of Biden, who is proud of his Irish origins, over London’s attempts to reverse the “Northern Ireland Protocol” which seeks to avoid the return of a border with EU member Ireland but which has disrupted trade between the mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

“Everybody has a massive interest in making sure that we keep the essential symmetry of the Good Friday Agreement,” which ended three decades of conflict in the British-ruled province, he said.

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