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Willing to talk to Putin about ending war in Ukraine

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U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron walk down the Colonnade to the Oval Office at the White House, Dec. 1, 2022.

  • Biden said the U.S. “will never ask Ukraine to compromise” to end the war without the consent of the Kyiv government.
  • Earlier, before their private discussions, Biden said as he welcomed Macron for the first state visit of a foreign leader during his presidency, “France and the United States are facing down Vladimir Putin’s ambition.”

U.S. President Joe Biden
raised the possibility Thursday of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin
to negotiate an end to Moscow’s war against Ukraine but said he had yet to see
any willingness on Putin’s part to halt his 10-month invasion.

“I’m prepared to talk to
Putin but only in consultation with NATO allies,” Biden said at a White House
news conference after holding several hours of private talks with French
President Emmanuel Macron about Ukraine and other issues. “I have no immediate
plans to contact Mr. Putin. I’m not going to do it on my own.”

“There’s one way for this
war to end, Putin to pull out of Ukraine,” Biden said. “It’s sick what he’s
doing. If he’s looking for a way to end the war, he hasn’t done that.”

Macron said he was confident
the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine with more military and humanitarian
assistance.

“It’s about our values,” the
French leader said. “Having the U.S. support Ukraine … is very important.”

Biden said the U.S. “will
never ask Ukraine to compromise” to end the war without the consent of the Kyiv
government.

Earlier, before their
private discussions, Biden said as he welcomed Macron for the first state visit
of a foreign leader during his presidency, “France and the United States are
facing down Vladimir Putin’s ambition.”

“The alliance between our
two nations remains essential for our defense,” Biden said. “The U.S. could not
ask for a better partner than France.” He described France as “our oldest ally
and unwavering partner in freedom’s cause.”

Macron, speaking on a sunny
but chilly morning in Washington, said, “As war returns to European soil with
Russian aggression against Ukraine, and in light of the multiple crises facing
our nations and societies, we need to become brothers-in-arms once more.”

He said Washington and Paris
“share the same faith in freedom and democratic values.”

While agreeing on their
determination to support Ukraine, Macron expressed sharp concerns to Biden
about the U.S. leader’s Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, approved by Congress
earlier this year that provides billions of dollars to support the U.S. clean
energy industry, and a separate measure that bolsters U.S. semiconductor
manufacturers.

Macron told congressional
leaders Wednesday that the measure was “super aggressive” toward European
companies.

“The consequence of the
IRA is that you will perhaps fix your issue, but you will increase my
problem,” he said, noting that France makes “exactly the same products as
you.”

At the news conference,
Biden said the legislation was “never intended to exclude” European trading
partners. “We’re back in business,” he said of U.S. economic advances. “Europe
is back in business.”

Macron said, “France wants
the same new manufacturing jobs.”

Biden acknowledged that some
aspects of the legislation might need to be tweaked, as he put it, and said he
was confident that U.S. and European negotiators could work out differences so
both the U.S. and European economies can prosper.

The pomp and circumstance of
a White House state visit for a foreign leader was on full display, with Biden
and first lady Jill Biden greeting Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, and
then watching as a band in colonial uniforms played the national anthems of
both countries. A 21-gun salute for Macron’s visit rang out.

The two leaders and their
wives waved from the White House balcony before Biden and Macron went inside
for substantive talks. A state dinner was planned for the evening.

The Bidens took the Macrons
to Fiola Mare, an upscale Italian seafood restaurant overlooking the Potomac
River, on Wednesday evening.



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