Truss strikes conciliatory tone for meeting with ‘friend or foe’ Macron

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iz Truss tried to strike a conciliatory tone ahead of the meeting with Emmanuel Macron, despite refusing to say whether she believes the French president is a “friend or foe”.

The prime minister stressed the need for a “constructive relationship” to combat Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the unauthorized crossing of the Channel by migrants in small boats.

The comments ahead of Macron’s meeting at a UN summit in New York on Tuesday appeared to mark a softening of tone following post-Brexit tensions over Northern Ireland and fishing rights.

However, officials noted that the comments to reporters flying with Ms Truss came on the day of the Queen’s funeral, shortly after a period of restrained politics.

Ms. Truss caused a diplomatic row during the Tory leadership contest when she refused to give a clear answer to the question of whether the Allied nation’s president was a “friend or foe.”

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Instead, the then foreign secretary said last month that the “jury is out”. Ms Truss did not answer the verdict during an interview with journalists traveling with her to the summit, but emphasized that she wants a “constructive relationship with France”.

“Of course that means working together in the field of migration. There are a number of other issues that we need to work on, be it on energy security, or on other issues related to our relationship with the EU – but the main thing is making sure Putin doesn’t succeed in Ukraine,” she said. .

That is one of the points on which we need to work constructively with France

The Prime Minister was pressured to cross the Channel, with preliminary figures suggesting more than 29,700 have made the crossing this year – more than last year’s total of 28,526.

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“That’s one of the things we need to work on constructively with France,” Ms Truss replied.

Secretary Michelle Donelan said there was no need for Ms Truss to apologize to Macron over her “juries out” comment.

“The prime minister has the right to make comments on any subject she sees fit, so I don’t think she needs to apologize,” the culture minister told Times Radio.

The Prime Minister’s talks with Mr Macron and with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are likely to include post-Brexit legislation on Northern Ireland.

Ms Truss will meet with Mr Macron on Tuesday, before seeing Mr Biden and Ms von der Leyen on Wednesday. She was due to meet with the US president in Britain this weekend while he was visiting for the Queen’s funeral, but the meeting was postponed.

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Downing Street maintains its position on the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Act, which the EU and others say will violate international law.

Now that the US president is deeply proud of his Irish heritage, he could be assured that Mrs. Truss’ plans will not affect the peace process.

As for Ukraine, Ms. Truss is trying to bring nations together to end Russia’s energy dependence on Vladimir Putin, while committing to make new spending in support of Volodymyr Zelensky’s resistance.

She pledged to spend at least £2.3 billion in military aid to Ukraine next year, which is equivalent to or exceeds the total spent in 2022.

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