US President Joe Biden held a series of talks on Friday ahead of the G20 summit in Rome this weekend. First, the second Roman Catholic president of the United States spoke with the Pope.
Biden was in a good mood and greeted an officer escorting his wife Jill with the words, “Ha, I’m Jill’s husband.” The conversation lasted remarkably long, and Pope Francis would have called his guest a good Catholic. Instead, Biden called his interlocutor a fighter for peace.
Biden then drove in his presidential limousine with 83 other cars for a protocol greeting to Italian President Sergio Mattarella. The convoy then drove to the Palazzo Chigi, where the prime minister of the southern European country, Mario Draghi, received him.
The main topics of discussion are the climate crisis and the fight against the coronavirus. The most difficult ‘bilateral affair’ then followed with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. Relations between the two countries are in bad shape due to US involvement in Australia’s decision not to buy French submarines worth more than €30 billion, while that was agreed upon years ago.
Perhaps even more painful for France, it was also revealed in September that the country had been tricked for years and that Australia, Britain and the US struck deals, including a defence agreement behind the French’s backs.
It is the first meeting between the US and French leaders since the crisis erupted. The conversation took place in the sixteenth-century Palazzo Farnese, where the French embassy in Rome has been located since 1936.