Macron and Harris agree to closely cooperate on COVID, climate and democracy

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By Lauren Chadwick
French President Emmanuel Macron, left. US Vice President Kamala Harris, right.
French President Emmanuel Macron, left. US Vice President Kamala Harris, right.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michel Euler, left. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, right.

French President Emmanuel Macron and US Vice President Kamala Harris agreed on the need for close cooperation on COVID-19, climate change and democracy in their first exchange since the vice president's January inauguration.

Harris expressed her "commitment to strengthening bilateral ties" between the US and France and to "revitalising the transatlantic alliance," the vice president's office said in a readout of the call.

They also discussed regional challenges including those in the Middle East and Africa, the statement said.

Macron tweeted that he was "glad" to have had this first conversation with the vice president.

"Let's move forward together on all the challenges we face: climate, gender equality, regional crises, and our space cooperation with (hopefully) a new step this Thursday with Perseverance’s landing on Mars," Macron tweeted.

Harris thanked Macron for his leadership on gender equality and for France's contribution to NASA's Mars Perserverance rover.

The rover is scheduled to land on Mars on Thursday with the aim of collecting rock and soil samples to better understand the geology of the planet.

Macron was also one of the first foreign leaders to speak with US President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.

The leaders pledged to "strengthen bilateral ties" between the countries and closely cooperation on climate change and COVID-19.

Biden has emphasised that he wants to refocus on diplomacy in an effort to rebuild relationships that were strained under the Trump administration.

The new US president reversed several policies of his predecessor in his first days in office including rejoining the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization.