Skip to content

French President Macron to host US’ Biden for state visit following D-Day commemorations

By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
May 30, 2024 10:49 PM

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to host US President Joe Biden for his first state visit to France, following their attendance at the World War II D-Day landings commemoration

French President Emmanuel Macron will host US President Joe Biden next week for the U.S. leader’s first state visit to France. The visit will follow both leaders’ attendance at the World War II D-Day landings commemoration, with discussions set to focus on Ukraine, the Middle East, and trade.

President Biden’s visit to Paris on June 8 will come after the June 6 ceremony in Normandy, marking 80 years since the D-Day landings. According to a statement from the White House, Biden will be in France from June 5 to June 9.

Approximately one million people are expected to attend the D-Day commemorations in France, including King Charles III and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. About 25 heads of government or state are expected to participate in the events.

Amid Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, Biden and Macron are expected to discuss further Western support for Kyiv during the D-Day ceremonies and Biden’s state visit.

The high-profile events offer Biden, 81, and Macron, 46, an opportunity to bolster their standing with voters. Macron’s camp faces a challenging task of narrowing the gap with the far right before the European Parliament elections on June 9. Biden, meanwhile, is campaigning for re-election against Donald Trump, seeking to return to the White House in the November presidential ballot.

On June 6, Biden will speak and participate in ceremonies with his wife Jill Biden to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy, “which paved the way for the liberation of France and Europe,” the White House stated. “Seventy-three thousand brave Americans landed at Utah and Omaha beaches in Normandy on June 6, 1944, and the president will greet American veterans and their family members while in France to honor their sacrifice,” the statement added.

On June 7, Biden will deliver a speech at Pointe du Hoc, a clifftop promontory whose German bunkers were attacked by U.S. troops during the landings. He will speak “about the importance of defending freedom and democracy,” according to the White House.

The state visit on June 8 will “reflect the enduring and comprehensive relationship between the United States and France, our oldest ally, founded on shared democratic values, economic ties, and defense and security cooperation.” The two presidents will discuss a wide range of “global challenges” such as the Gaza war, Washington said. Macron’s office noted that the leaders would discuss “unfailing and long-term support” for Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President Zelensky is expected to lobby Western leaders for more assistance, including permission to allow Kyiv to strike Russia using Western-supplied longer-range weapons. While Macron has stated that Kyiv should be allowed to “neutralize” Russian military bases used to fire missiles into Ukraine, the United States has been hesitant to permit Ukraine to strike over the border, fearing it could draw Washington closer to direct conflict with Moscow.

France will deploy an “exceptional force” of 43,000 police, gendarmes, firefighters, and troops to provide security at the D-Day ceremonies from June 5 to June 7, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Thursday. Nearly a million people are expected to attend around thirty ceremonies organized over the three days in Brittany and Normandy.

“This is the biggest commemorative event in our history,” Darmanin told reporters. The main ceremony will take place on June 6 near Omaha Beach, where 12,000 police officers and gendarmes will be deployed, he said. A mine-clearing operation will involve 80 bomb disposal experts, including 16 divers.

Representatives of Russia, but not President Vladimir Putin, have been invited to attend the D-Day celebrations to “honor the importance of the commitment and sacrifices of the Soviet people,” organizers said. Putin has become a virtual pariah in the West following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Source: AFP

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 5:04 PM