Biden speaks with Frances Macron, seeks to strengthen ties – Reuters

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his New Year wishes to the military forces at Prefecture Maritime de l’Atlantique in Brest, France, January 19, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden spoke on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron, expressing his desire to strengthen bilateral ties, the White House said, as Biden made the traditional ally one of the first countries contacted during his initial days in office.

The White House statement also said Biden emphasized his commitment to bolstering transatlantic relations, through NATO and the U.S. partnership with the European Union.

The two leaders also agreed on the need for close coordination, including through multilateral organizations, in tackling common challenges such as climate change, COVID-19 and the global economic recovery, the statement said.

They also agreed to work together on shared foreign policy priorities, including China, the Middle East, Russia and West Africa’s Sahel region.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney and Matthew Lewis