The head of American diplomacy Mike Pompeo arrived in Paris on Saturday, where he has to meet on Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron who, unlike Donald Trump, has already recognized Joe Biden‘s victory in the race for the White House.
“Happy to be in France, the oldest friend and ally of the United States,” tweeted the Secretary of State on his plane descent, whose first bilateral visit to the French capital, apart from a trip to accompany the US president.
“Our partnership is built on shared values: democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” he added.
The minister, accompanied by his wife Susan Pompeo, had little on his agenda over the weekend, except for a tribute to the victims of the recent attacks in France. On October 16, a French teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by an Islamist killer in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (in the Paris region). On 29 October, an attack killed three people in the Basilica of Nice (south-east).
On Monday morning, Mike Pompeo is scheduled to meet Emmanuel Macron and his counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.
But even such interviews should mostly be done away from cameras.
The French insisted that they had agreed to receive Mike Pompeo at his own request, and “in complete transparency with the team of President-elect Joe Biden”.
President Macron was among the first to congratulate the Democrat on his election in the United States, and then to talk to him over the phone. Even though the outgoing Republican president still has not recognized his defeat.
Mike Pompeo himself refused to acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory before flying off for a tour of Europe and the Middle East where Paris is the first stage. “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” he said Tuesday, before criticizing foreign leaders who have already made contact with the Democrat.
Beyond these two parallel realities that risk parasitizing American diplomacy, Parisian talks also proclaim to be tense. Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that he would oppose, in front of Mike Pompeo, an acceleration of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, envisaged by Donald Trump before the official end of his term on 20 January.
According to the State Department, discussions will also focus on “transatlantic unity”, often abused during the Trump era, as well as the fight against terrorism.
By CCEiT (AFP)