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Macron says Biden is ‘part of the club’ at the G7 in leaders’ first formal meeting

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron held their first formal in-person meeting on Saturday.

The two leaders discussed a number of issues, ranging from global health security efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic across the globe, inequities stemming from globalization, the global tax rate and the transatlantic alliance, according to the White House.

“President Biden expressed his appreciation for France’s leadership on climate issues through the Paris Agreement, and both leaders underscored their dedication to achieve ambitious outcomes at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow in November,” a White House statement said.

“President Biden and President Macron discussed our work to strengthen and modernize NATO, and our close cooperation on counter terrorism cooperation, including in the Sahel, and other shared foreign policy priorities such as China and Russia.”

The meeting lasted more than an hour, according to a White House official.

Speaking to cameras during the bilateral meeting on Saturday, Macron thanked Biden for their earlier informal discussion on Friday, when they met in person for the first time. He also heaped praise on the President as being “part of the club” following a more fraught relationship with former President Donald Trump.

“We have to deal with this pandemic, and the Covid-19. We have to face a lot of challenges, a lot of crises, climate change, and for all these issues, what we need is cooperation, and I think it’s great to have a US President part of the club and very willing to cooperate,” Macron said.

The French President added, “I think that what you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership, and we do appreciate.”

Biden said he and Macron are having a “good day so far” and that the two leaders are “on the same page.” He added that he feels strongly about the “cohesion of NATO” and expressed that the European Union is “incredibly strong and vibrant.”

Asked if allies think America is back, Biden looked at Macron and said, “Ask him,” to which Macron replied in the affirmative: “Definitely.”

The formal meeting in Cornwall, England, come on the heels of a less formal pull aside conversation at the summit between the two leaders, in which they discussed Covid-19, counterterrorism efforts and the US-France partnership, according to a White House statement.

Part of a one-on-one conversation between the leaders was documented on camera on Friday, with Macron appearing impassioned and linking arms with Biden.

Earlier in the summit Macron called on G7 leaders to make “concrete commitments” to tackle global challenges, adding that this year’s summit “must be one of action.” He also said at the time he and Biden are “united” in their efforts to make a difference, adding that it is “time to deliver.”

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