Biden 'prepared to sit down with Putin' if Russian president wants to end the Ukraine war

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By Euronews  with AP, Reuters
President Joe Biden meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022
President Joe Biden meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022   -   Copyright  Credit: AP

US president Joe Biden and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron pledged to hold Russia accountable for "atrocities" and "war crimes" committed in Ukraine, according to a joint statement issued on Thursday.

The two leaders addressed reporters following talks in the White House's Oval Office, where they renewed their commitment to fighting Russia's "brutal" invasion of Ukraine and supporting those affected by the conflict.

Thursday's news conference is part of Macron's state visit to the US -- the first of Biden's presidency -- in which the leaders are celebrating more than 200 years of US-French relations.

While speaking to journalists at the event, Biden also said that he was open to dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, provided he made concrete plans to end his aggression against Ukraine. 

"I'm prepared to speak with Putin if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he's looking for a way to end the war," Biden said. "If that's the case, in consultation with my French and my NATO friends, I'll be happy to sit down with Putin to see what he wants, has in mind. He hasn't done that yet."

Among other issues raised by Macron and Biden were relations with China as well as the US's Inflation Reduction Act, which the French President had described as being "super aggressive" against European companies. Biden struck a conciliatory tone and agreed to potential "tweaks" to avoid triggering a trade war and alienating his allies.

"We are going to continue to create manufacturing jobs in America, but not at the expense of Europe," he said.

The two Presidents presented a united front at Thursday's press conference, despite a growing transatlantic rift over the Inflation Reduction Act's green subsidies which has loomed behind the scenes and strained the nations' partnership.

The day will conclude with a lavish state dinner, for which 200 live lobsters have been flown in from the Northeastern state of Maine.