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Soon: Biden Meets with Macron Amid Tension over Sub Row; Summit Begin as calls for Action Grow Louder; General Aghajani Blamed for Attack on Shipping Vessel Off Coast of Oman; U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Commander of Iran's Drone Program; Biden Meets with French President after Major Diplomatic Clash; Biden: France is "Extremely Valuable" Partner to U.S. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 29, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Abu Dhabi. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome to "Connect the World". Live from Abu Dhabi where it is 7:00 in the evening. Leaders of
many of the world's richest nations are in Rome this hour preparing to take up some of the most pressing issues of our time.
Decisions made at the G20 this weekend could directly affect how we all live, for example, keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees getting more
people in poor countries vaccinated against the Coronavirus and getting the world economy back on its feet from that pandemic.
Here's President Joe Biden here meeting now with Italy's Prime Minister. He is expected to meet with the French President Emmanuel Macron soon to
smooth over tensions from Australia's scrapped submarine deal. Earlier today, President Biden held an audience with Pope Francis he says he talked
about personal things and he praised the Pope's efforts on climate change and on vaccine sharing.
Mr. Biden is America's second Catholic President. Well, the G20 leaders have some ambitious goals for their first in person meeting since the
pandemic began. CNN's Nic Robertson, following developments for us in Rome, Jim Bittermann is on the meeting between the U.S. and French Presidents.
Stand by Jim; let's start with you, Nic, ahead of the business of G20 the U.S. President getting what's known as an audience with the Pope.
As I understand it, it was some 90 minutes and both look very friendly, or certainly did before parting what do we know about what was discussed?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, it was warm, cordial friendly, by all accounts between 75 and 90 minutes is the two
readouts from the Vatican from the White House of the meeting.
And it did appear, especially if you sort of look at the body language and listen to President Biden as he was leaving and the sort of jokes and
anecdotes that he was - that he was telling to the Pope clearly he felt very comfortable with the Pope very relaxed.
It's they have a long relationship. It was a Pope Francis, back when President Biden's son, Joe Biden died not long after who, you know, who
talked with President Biden and consultant, if you will, at that time. So this is a relationship that goes back some way.
And important for President Biden to come here leaving so many sort of domestic political issues hanging in the air, so to speak, but really
finding somebody who is of a like mind on issues of climate of the environment of immigration, apparently, President Biden congratulated the
Pope for his support of the poor of his efforts to see that the poor and the - you know, the developing nations around the world are held by the
richer nations, of course, that's sort of the broader theme of the G20 Summit here.
But really, yes, this was a positive meeting and a long one 75 to 90 minutes is really longer. I think the most Vatican watchers have been able
to, you know; have been able to see an any meeting between a Pope and a president in the past. So Biden, I think that was a very good starting
point for him here.
ANDERSON: Before we talk about his meeting, which is slipping, by the way. Joe Biden's meeting with Emmanuel Macron sort of make good on what has been
a very tense relationship of date. Nic, this is a meeting of leaders, many of whom will be there in person, as we understand it, there is a likelihood
that the Chinese and Russian Presidents will also join virtually.
And there's been some debate about whether they are interested in in joining at all? Very briefly what is likely to be achieved, there will be
people watching this show who say G20, really so what?
ROBERTSON: Look, I think there's a sense in the White House that absent President Xi and Putin physically in the room, this is a chance for
President Biden to get other world leaders to support his positions more.
I think, given the difficulty that President Biden comes to this summit, with the sort of the way that his ruffled diplomatic feathers with France
the way that he upset allies withdrawal over Afghanistan, it's really not clear how much of an advantage he'll be to take from their absence?
ROBERTSON: There is a sense that these summits are more about statements and less about follow through and substance. Last year's G20 agreed to
support poorer nations. There was some level of support, but it's really fallen short of what was sort of talked about at that summit.
And I think there was a sense that the real delivery, when these leaders are going home to countries where people are getting third booster shots,
and they're expected here to step up and do more for nations who haven't been able to give many of our population a single COVID vaccine shot. So
that's where the gap in reality and rhetoric wise.
ANDERSON: Jim, President Biden's schedule, as I said has been slipping so far is now as I understand it over an hour late in meeting, President
Macron. And since they are trying to reconnect, that may cut down on their time to talk, how will that go down with the least say?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think they will probably ignore that kind of slipping happens in timing, I think
President Macron itself is sometimes guilty of being a little late for his meetings.
In any case, I think this meeting is being heralded as, at least in France anyway, as something that's going to go a long way towards sort of healing
the hurt that was felt after that sub deal was cancelled back in early part of this summer.
That not only cost the French billions of dollars of construction, construction profits that they were going to make from building these
submarines. But it also excluded them from the UK/Australian/U.S. agreement security arrangement for the Indo-Pacific region, something that the French
cared deeply about.
Because they have quite a bit of interest in the Indo-Pacific region with the troops of military troops that they have in New Caledonia, and also the
number of Pacific Islands that are out there that are French protectorate, so you have this idea that the French word somehow excluded.
And as the Foreign Minister -- said that they felt like they had been stabbed in the back so just to see, just assume those kinds of relations.
We've seen a number of things happen over the last few months, there was a telephone call between Biden and Macron.
And then we saw the Secretary of State, Tony Blinken came through here, and basically said, oh, sometimes, you know, you take for granted these
relationships with the allies that have been your allies for the last several centuries as the French have been, and even more so on the plane
coming over to Rome.
President Biden's National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan said, we expect these talks to be constructive and deeply substantive, emphasizing the fact
that it's not just a lot of, you know, kind of words that are being displayed here that there's going to be some substantive things come out of
their talks, Becky?
ANDERSON: All right. Well, we wait to hear what that substance is? You will be monitoring that for as Jim, I know. Thank you to both of you. Well, as
leaders head to both the G20 and indeed, of course Monday, the all- important Climate Summit in Glasgow, climate activists have a message for the world's bankers stop funding the use of fossil fuels.
Climate Activist Greta Thunberg was this protest outside Standard Chartered Bank in London, one of many being held on this day of protests around the
world. In Tel Aviv thousands took to the streets carrying banners and shouting their message that they want stronger action to fight, climate
And protests of course, looking to grab some of the global spotlight that is present shining on the G20 and COP26 Summits, there will be urgent calls
for those meetings for the U.S. to take the lead on the climate crisis. But will we? Will we see any tangible progress? CNN's Phil Black shows us now
what is at stake?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): These are just some of the biblical events the world has seen and experienced in 2021. Extreme floods,
fires, droughts and record temperatures across the U.S. and around the world proof scientists say we're already living in a climate crisis.
TODD STERN, FORMER U.S. LEAD CLIMATE NEGOTIATOR: It's here. I mean, it's a paradox. People see that people feel that.
BLACK (voice over): Todd Stern led U.S. climate negotiations through the Obama Administration and helped forge 2015 Paris Agreement. That
breakthrough document includes a critical promise; all countries will work to keep the global average temperature increase within 1.5 and 2 degrees
STERN: We've got a hell of a long way to go.
BLACK (on camera): Because the reality is at the moment we're nowhere near to being on track to keep the things below 2 little around 1.5.
STERN: We're not near - we're not near being on track, but we're getting better.
BLACK (voice over): Better ultimately isn't good enough. At the Glasgow Climate Conference, each country will be judged on whether it's cutting
emissions sufficiently to ensure that crucial 1.5 degree target is still achievable. The scientific consensus says the goal is now slipping beyond
rich and the consequences will be disastrous.
BOB WARD, GRANTHAM RESEARCH INSTITUTE ON CLIMATE & THE ENVIRONMENT, LSE: Without action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, we could see temperatures
go well beyond three degrees of warming by the end of the century, something that the Earth has not experienced for 3 million years long
before humans were on the planet, it would be a very, very different world.
BLACK (voice over): U.S. leadership, through example, is vital at Glasgow to boost other countries ambitions. The Biden Administration's plan is
bold, higher U.S. emissions by 2030, hit net zero carbon by 2050.
WARD: That's fantastic. But it needs to demonstrate that they can deliver that and the lack of agreement at federal level and indeed, in many states,
to the outside world looks like that will be a major challenge.
BLACK (voice over): Success also depends on big new commitments from China. The world's biggest polluter is responsible for more than a quarter of
global emissions. China's long term goal is becoming carbon neutral by 2060.
STERN: So it's quite important that China move much more than they have, again, there's that long term goal is pretty good. But between now and
2030, they haven't pledged really anything.
BLACK (voice over): The urgent challenge for China and many developing countries is to stop burning coal for electricity while still rapidly
growing their economies and lifting populations out of poverty. The issue is going to be a key focus in Glasgow, along with finance from rich
countries to help poorer countries make the change.
But even before the conference opens, it's clear there are tensions over some countries unwillingness to offer detailed, ambitious commitments.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. CLIMATE ENVOY: We're behind. And we have to stop the BS that is being thrown at us by a number of countries that have not been
willing to sign up to what Great Britain has signed up to. We've signed up to; Japan, Canada, the EU, that is to keep 1.5 degrees alive.
BLACK (voice over): It's expected Glasgow will deliver progress. But will it be enough as frequent extreme events demonstrate the growing dangers of
failure scientists to show there's now very little time left to prevent climate change on a devastating scale. Phil Black, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well Scott McLean, joining us from London where the climate protests that Phil was describing there has just wrapped up. And Scott
organizes hope this will be one of the largest ever protests against those financing fossil fuels. Did the organizers get the sort of turnout they
were looking for?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the short answer is definitely no, Becky. This was not the kind of turnout that you'd expect, especially on
the eve or just a couple of days away from the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, just in the north part of the UK and Scotland there.
And so there were protesters here they did mill around for maybe an hour and a half or so. A Greta Thunberg, as you mentioned earlier in the show,
the Swedish environmental activist, just a teenager still, who's reached the sort of celebrity status she did come later on was here for about 30
minutes talked with some of the climate activists and the protesters who are here outside of the bank, and then she promptly left she didn't speak
she didn't say anything.
The point of this of this exercise though is, you know, while surely the next two weeks will focus on what the politicians are pledging, and what
the politicians will actually do. This one is focused on the financial sector and getting bank specifically, in this case, a Standard Chartered
Bank to quit funding or to quit financing, fossil fuel exploration and fossil fuel exploitation.
MCLEAN: Standard Chartered did put out a statement yesterday acknowledging it does have obviously investments in fossil fuels. We're making clear that
they can't just simply turn off the tap. This is going to be a gradual process.
One of their goals is to not deal with any clients by 2030 that are more than 5 percent reliant on coal. For the activists here, though that is
still not enough. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been running this campaign for nearly a year now. And they have had some changes in their coal policy like actually, just
yesterday they released a new coal policy, but even then it's still very insufficient. So what we really want is to highlight, I guess the hypocrisy
of place of companies like Standard Chartered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can no longer expect to see people dying while listening to politicians saying making pledges for decades ahead like
people were dying, though.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: Becky, if you're wondering, of course, I obviously tried to get some questions into the young climate activist Greta Thunberg as she was
leaving. And I asked her specifically about China. China obviously is the world's biggest polluter responsible on its own for one quarter of the
world's greenhouse gas emissions. And yet its targets its climate targets, which is just firmed up and in advance of the COP26 summit are by many
standards, really not nearly what other countries are doing by 2030.
Their pollution could still rise even provided that their GDP that their economy continues to hum that's sort of how they've set up their climate
targets. So I asked Greta Thunberg what she thinks of that and she didn't actually answer the question. She definitely heard it. She answered,
though, that she was just trying to sneak away from the assembled press.
ANDERSON: We are unstoppable another world is possible has been the chant today, I'm not sure whether Greta herself was involved in that chamber.
That was certainly what we heard from that meeting. Thank you, Scott.
One quick programming note will have extensive coverage of the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1 through the
12th. And "Connect the World" will be on that each day for you and for the latest climate news and COP26 developments head to cnn.com/climate.
Just ahead two old friends catching up, they also happen to be the world's most powerful Catholics. We'll connect you to that big face to face meeting
between the Pope and the U.S. president a little later this hour. And the U.S. Treasury Secretary downplays concerns about inflation.
What Janet Yellen has told CNN about when she thinks price increases will ease up, that's an important interview and that is coming up.
ANDERSON: Well, we are following the G20 summit which is important it kicks off tomorrow in Rome leaders. At least most of them are meeting face to
face for the first time in two years. And for the U.S. president it is his biggest opportunity so far to exert diplomatic muscle.
On a global scale Joe Biden facing a long list of leaders to converse with cajoles and convince as they confront the world's most pressing issues
including one of the most urgent of all climate change.
ANDERSON: Mr. Biden also has some diplomatic fences to --set to meet with the French President Emmanuel Macron shortly just weeks after Australia
ditched France to ink a deal with the U.S. and UK for nuclear powered submarines.
So my next guest is someone who knows an awful lot about diplomacy. Martin Indyk is a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, good
friend of this show. He has a new book out on one of the most well-known diplomatic figures of the 20th century.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, that book entitled master of the game, Henry Kissinger in the art of Middle East diplomacy and Martin
Indyk joining me now live via Skype from New York. I want to talk about the conceit of the book.
And shortly let's first talk about goals versus expectations. What can President Biden reasonably hope to achieve this weekend and into next week,
he comes to this G20 meeting fighting strong headwinds at home over these prolonged negotiations for his signature, social spending plan.
He's got hardly any ambassadors in positions. And that's tough when you're trying to deal with foreign files. Will all of this be looming over him in
Rome? And how do you believe Washington is trying to position itself at present?
MARTIN INDYK, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I suspect Becky, that he'll feel somewhat liberated from the awful time that he's
been having in Washington trying to cajole his own party members in the House and the Senate.
Compared to that, it's going to be child's play in Rome and Glasgow, I suspect. And of course, he's very experienced on the foreign policy stage.
And the president has much more power in foreign policy than he does, domestically. So I think it'll be feeling liberated.
His agenda is very much a global agenda for both the G20 in Glasgow. And I think there he wants to play a leadership role. He's hobbled a bit by the
failure so far to get his climate legislation through. But on other issues, pandemics, the global economy, supply chains and so on.
American leadership can make a real difference. And I think that that the leaders there are going to be interested in working with him.
ANDERSON: He got a lot of experience, Sir. You've probably forgotten more about this region of the Middle East and most will ever know. Joe Biden has
promised an end to endless wars and the start of a period of what he calls endless diplomacy, slap bang in the middle of or at the top of his in tray.
And that of his colleagues at the State Department, of course, will be Iran and getting these JCPOA talks back on track earlier this week. The
country's chief negotiator said they will return to nuclear talks by the end of the month.
And today, though the Biden Administration announced a new round of sanctions on the IRGC commander in charge of the drone program, blaming him
for a recent attack on a ship off the coast of Oman.
I just wonder where you see, be Biden narrative at present with regard getting Iran back on the table when you also see these efforts being made
on the part of the U.S. treasury and the sort of revolving doors of diplomacy around this region, with many of what Washington will describe as
its closest friends. Where are we at? Martin?
INDYK: Well, getting Iran back to the negotiating table is no achievement at all. Getting Iran to come back into compliance with the JCPOA and
lifting sanctions in response to that is, is the objective of this.
And the Iranians aren't even talking to the United States only talked to the Europeans. So this could just be another dilatory tactic on their part,
to play out the game while they continue to enrich uranium and an approach the nuclear threshold where they'll have enough highly enriched uranium for
at least one bomb.
That doesn't mean they've crossed the threshold and will have nuclear weapons, but they're certainly getting much closer to that than they've
ever been before. So I think there's a sense of urgency on the part of the Biden Administration to get them back into the JCPOA.
And they're going to want to test to see whether the Iranians are serious about that when they come back to the table if they're not. I think we're
going to see more of what you just referenced more sanctions to the extent that they can find them. We've got a lot of them on already. And I think
more talk about other options, because the Iranians seem to be playing a game with the United States at the moment.
ANDERSON: But it's the Iranian nuclear file and indeed the country's says, describe malign behavior around this region that worries its allies here,
not least, Israel, you serve two stints as U.S. ambassador to Israel. U.S. Israeli relations were very warm under the Trump Administration somewhat
different. Now it has to be said, how would you describe those relations to date?
INDYK: Well, I think they they've been close and warm up until the last week or so. There's some tension that's entered into the relationship. And
let's go back to May, when Biden worked closely with the previous Prime Minister Netanyahu to end the war in Gaza.
He was under a lot of pressure both domestically and internationally to condemn Israel and pressure to stop instead, he put his arm around
Netanyahu and managed to end that conflict in about seven or eight days. That was a good example working with us.
ANDERSON: --for one sec. Let me just jump in for one sec. We've just seen Joe Biden leave his meeting with the Italian prime minister. And we now
know that he is on his way to speak with the French president.
We know that that relationship has been quite difficult of late; we've promised our viewers that we will keep them bang up to date with what is
going on in Rome. Of course, Joe Biden is there for the G20 meeting and I - talking about what he may achieve there.
And then what he may hope to achieve as he moves from there to Glasgow, for the beginning of the COP 26 meeting. But this, these images of the of the
cars that will take Joe Biden just moments ago, we saw these images, Joe Biden leaving that meeting with his Italian counterpart on the way to a
meeting with the French President.
And we will, of course, bring you more on that as we get it. Martin very briefly, I do just want to get your sense on the book that you've just
written how Henry Kissinger strategy, in your opinion might be used as a template for today's Middle East issues, just your sense.
INDYK: Yes. So Kissinger, engaged in relentless diplomacy in the Middle East, just like Biden's announced he intends to do now. He was coming off
the Vietnam War and the withdrawal from Vietnam, just like Biden comes off Afghanistan and he was facing domestic turmoil in the United States over
And he did not have the ability to, to use force to back-up his diplomacy. And yet he was able, through this relentless effort in the Middle East to
lay the foundations for the Arab Israeli peace process and take Egypt out of the conflict with Israel as a result of his negotiation.
So I think what I tried to do in the book is to highlight the way in which he did that. And the interesting part about it, which I think is important
for the day is he focused on order and establishing a balance of power, but recognizing that that was not enough to legitimize the order, he needed a
peace process as well.
Joe Biden has to establish a balance of power reestablish a balance of power in Asia, with a rising China challenging there in Europe with Russia.
I think part of the conversation with Macron that he's having about to have now is very much about getting the Europeans to step up to take some of the
weight off the United States in Europe, so that we can concentrate in Asia.
And so it's very much Kissingerian, this is a return of geopolitics. And by could learn a lot from the way in which Kissinger created order in the
ANDERSON: Well, I don't doubt that if he said some time on the flight over or in the past couple of weeks, he'll have read your book. It's been much
acclaimed. It's always a pleasure to have you on. Thank you very much indeed, for joining us.
Apologies for cutting in on you, but we have promised that our viewers will see exactly what is going on in Rome and they have. We are taking a short
break back with more after this. Thank you, Martin.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It states, the officials I've spoken to in the administration don't believe they made a
mistake in terms of the orcas agreement. Don't believe they made a mistake in terms of supporting the Australians in basically dropping their
submarine contracts with the French and moving towards a nuclear submarines.
They believe that that was the right move strategically, geopolitically, given the focus very clear focus in the administration on China and trying
to elevate that issue in the region and basically, better defend regional actors. There's no regret there. And I think when the personal comes in,
it's underscoring the point that they don't necessarily think it was a mistake, the action.
However, the personal aspects leading up to that action in terms of diplomatically keeping people informed, keeping people in the loop, trying
to lay the groundwork for what was coming, given the relationship, the long standing relationship absolutely could have been better when you talk to
And that is something that I think the President in very personal manner can address. He has addressed it in multiple two calls over the course of
the last couple of months. I think we've seen such an emphasis from U.S. officials being there in person in Paris over the course of the last
But that's where the personal matters more than anything. I think when it comes to the substance of policy; the French have made very clear they have
questions about the U.S. Because four years prior to President Biden, they have questions about the U.S. focus, overriding focus on China and where
that leaves Europe, they have questions about collective defense.
And obviously, they have asked very clearly for more counterterrorism assistance in Africa. Those are things that the United States could
potentially put on the table as they seek to mend the rift between the two countries. It's definitely a possibility. It's been part of discussions.
I've been told to on the substantive side of things that will be the thing to keep an eye on coming out of this meeting in the next couple of hours.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And it looks like as we as Phil's been talking, we're seeing more people kind of gathering looks like
the arrival of President Biden could be soon as Phil, if you could stick with me. I'm going to bring back in Kaitlan Collins and Wolf Blitzer as
Kaitlan, you were talking about and if you could, again, why it is significant that this is being held at the French Embassy in Rome.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's very significant because not only are they hosting it, they have organized this that's a big
concession typically. It may not be something that most people think of when they think of these to sit downs with world leaders have pulled aside
but it is significant.
It is a concession by the White House to let the French really organize this and host this given typically these are neutral meetings between the
two sides on the sidelines of a big summit like this one where so many world leaders are present.
But this was intentional I am told and it is also intentional that it's being held at the French Embassy in Rome and not a hotel or some other site
or typically a meeting like this would happen.
COLLINS: And that's because, of course, the White House is kind of deferring to the French here as part of that effort to try to rebuild and
restore this relationship back to where it was.
And remember, when this happened, you saw the French so angry that they were seething over this, it wasn't just that they brought their ambassador
back to France, because they were so angry about the deal.
They also were comparing Biden to his predecessor to Trump to of course, not only the person he has stated, this painted the stark picture against
saying he is not like Trump, of course. But they were saying that he was adopting these kind of tactics of just dropping something on them, and not
letting them know and not having a clear line of communication.
And we're told that that really bothered President Biden that comparison from the French, but it speaks to the level of severity that they viewed,
what the U.S. actions were when it came to this.
BOLDUAN: Wolf, I'm wondering as we're talking about this, and this is, of course, part of the backdrop against which they're going to be meeting in
really what seems a few minutes. But, you know, the cameras will go in to see the handshake, and then they'll go into, you know, their closed door
real session real meeting.
And what do you think the chances are that, you know, there is no, there's not even a whiff or a mention of any tension between the world leaders. I
feel like there's a decent chance that while this is lingering in the background, they don't mention it at all.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER: They got to; I don't know what they're going to do publicly. But privately, they're
obviously going to talk about it, we're going to talk about it.
And one thing that to me, as someone who has covered U.S. French relations for many years, was how the U.S. side from the president who's got an
enormous amount of foreign policy experience to the Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, an enormous amount of foreign policy experience, especially
He grew up in Paris speaks French, Jake Sullivan, who knows U.S. foreign policy, how they so badly miscalculated on this issue of keeping France in
the dark on a very sensitive issue.
France is a close U.S. ally, they said that the longest U.S. ally going back to the Revolutionary War, the fact that they miscalculated and the
president of itself was surprised. And I think Kaitlan will agree how much this ruptured the relationship, given that the enormous experience they all
They didn't do it right. And they acknowledge that now and they're trying to fix it. We'll see what diplomacy does right now. And we'll see what the
statement is. I'm sure they'll say it was fruitful and productive and all of that, but they always say that let's see what's going on behind the
BOLDUAN: Don't forget to construct this, that's always they do, go ahead Kaitlan, sorry.
KAITLAN: Yes, constructive. There's all that diplomatic speak. You can often read between the lines, though, and see how these meetings actually
went. But when this happened, the White House was asked if Biden had apologized for it.
Because there were those two subsequent calls between the two leaders after this trying to mend those because they were seeing these public statements
coming out from the French that were incredibly fiery about their feelings on this, they did not try to hide it at all.
And they did not say that the President apologized. But Jen Psaki, the Press Secretary did say that they acknowledged there could have been
greater consultation between the U.S. and France on this issue.
And that, in and of itself, maybe doesn't sound like an apology. But when we talk about what the diplomatic speak here is that is something that you
don't usually see between two nations. And so yes, they're saying that they still believe the essence of this deal, which they think will greater help
greater deter China, when it comes to Australia and Australia, they think that will help.
But the way it was handled, of course, is something that they are going to have to defend. And maybe not publicly, maybe it won't happen in front of
the cameras. But it will be interesting to see how warm and cheery this relationship in this interaction that we do see is compared to that last
one that we saw at the G7 summit.
BLITZER: And I'll just add at this point, Kate, that when it comes to China, yes, there was irritation on the part of French and other European
allies as far as the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Yes, the submarine deal caused a lot of pain in the U.S. French relationship.
But right now, there's a lot of difference in the way the U.S. is dealing with China and the European allies, especially France and Germany for that
matter. They want to have this economic relationship with China. And there's a serious issue and a strain of sorts.
And I'm sure that that issue will come up in this meeting between President Macron and President Biden as well, China, China, China right now. It's
really important, especially when you see the tensions going on involving Taiwan. There's a lot of concern. The Europeans have, the U.S. and they
want to get their act together.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Please stick with it. Please stick with us everyone. Wolf, Kaitlan and Phil are standing by for this very important meeting of
the President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The first face to face meeting since this diplomatic rift that we've been discussing, we're going to take a quick break more live coverage from Rome
in just a second.
BOLDUAN: All right. There is the arrival of President Biden meeting with Emmanuel Macron as they had in for their meeting. Can we go over to Phil
Mattingly of Phil is ready because hopefully he could hear more than we could.
Phil, with the helicopters overhead, it was really hard for us to hear even what was asked and what the President how President Biden responded. But if
you have more you tell me.
MATTINGLY: I can tell you what was asked that we had not just the helicopters, but the President's beast that's currently sitting right next
to me the car that he travels in. He was asked if whether or not there was still a breach in the relationship, if he felt the breach had been fixed
MATTINGLY: What the state of the relationship currently is. It didn't appear that he could hear us or if he could, at one point keep in mind,
Kate that some of us are on this side of a group of hedges and some of us, the U.S. pool, the press pool that travels with the president is about 15
And they were asking questions as well. It appeared that he was asked something about the Pope. But he couldn't hear and eventually, President
Macron decided to bring him inside.
We do expect that the two leaders may once again be in front of cameras in a short time where there'll be a closer proximity to maybe hear more, and
let them expound a little bit in terms on the relationship and perhaps what they're looking for in this meeting. Kate.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely, Phil, Wolf and Kaitlan, let me bring you in as well. Just the body language matters and how leaders approach each other here.
What do you see, Wolf?
BLITZER: Well, I saw two leaders smiling. I saw my friend putting his arm around the President of the United States remind me of when he put his arm
around the President of the United States back in June, in the UK during that G7 summit.
So at least on the surface, it looked like business as usual getting back to normal. Let's see what happens behind closed doors. But and Kaitlan, I
don't know if you agree, but it looked, it looked pretty good, at least that would that welcome at the French Embassy by the French president.
COLLINS: Yes, smiles and handshakes and of course, we weren't expecting your President Biden to show up and get the cold shoulder from the French
president. The question and the devil are really in the details, and how do they interact when they're sitting down and answering questions.
And now obviously, the French have been pretty blunt about how they felt about this. But officials have also said that they are seeking to move on
from it. And I think that is really going to be the president strategy as they go into this meeting, because they have a lot of other issues to also
This isn't just the only one, though it may be obviously the latest issues for the French, it's not always just the top priority, they have a lot of
things to discuss, they have a lot of things that are important to the French, they may try to use this moment to their advantage.
They want explicit American support for European defense. And as you know, France is trying to establish itself and also maybe potentially develop
further intelligence sharing capabilities, that kind of nature that could be something that you could see come out of this.
So it may be something like that and not necessarily of course the in person interactions where they did seem very warm there you saw the photos
BOLDUAN: Kate and I am going to jump -- because we're just now getting live pictures as the pools heading in. And let's listen and see what we can --.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT, FRANCE: Tell us when you're ready.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are ready.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MACRON: Hello, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)
MACRON: --maybe the past few weeks and what we will be talking about today, first and foremost enables to clarify and that was much needed. What is
European sovereignty and European defense in itself? What it brings to global strategic partnership between NATO and the European Union with both
members of NATO of course.
-- To underscore the importance of the cooperation the Indo Pacific region and willingness to cooperate in this region. Thirdly and in this respect, I
very much would like to invite in the discussion - already too.
It is about coordination in the fight against terrorism and in particular, the presence of transceivers is held together with many of our European and
international partners. And over the past few weeks, President Biden took some fundamental decisions which benefitted to all --.
And these are very much the embodiment of the support he expressed. Then we acknowledged some bilateral partnerships on - exploitations, the nuclear
sector, the space industry and in - and of course, then most advanced technology.
And we want to have some extended cooperation on regulations as well. And then you get to work together on the main international issues climate
change, the digital sector, health which will be on the agenda of this G20.
MACRON: And we will also upgrade or discussions on arms control which remains a key issue. In a few words this is what was at the heart of our
work over the past few weeks what we will be discussing today.
These are very concrete decisions that are being taken to support some initiatives on joint initiatives during actions on all of these matters.
And for me this is very much the beginning of the process of trust of confidence which we're building together. Thank you very much for everybody
for the work undertaken over the past few weeks and for your presence here today.
MACRON: But for me, what's important is that we build for the past week, some very concrete actions in order to, for instance, abolish - this
clarification between one's European defense means and how this is completely compatible with NATO.
What's European sovereignty means and how it is important for global security. And for me important clarification, plus we're nonspecific
cooperation, as I mentioned. So for me, what, what really matters now, is what we will do together in the coming weeks, the coming months, coming
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: All right, so there was there's quite a bit that we just heard from President Biden and the French president there, yes, some audio
issues, we're going to piece through it together, there is always a re- feed. So the audio will likely become clearer as there is a re-feed.
But from just what we've heard, let me bring in Wolf Blitzer, Kaitlan Collins back with me. Wolf, your first impressions of what you heard there.
In that important meeting, they addressed it head on this rift.
BLITZER: Yes, they certainly did. They knew their reporters would be shouting questions about it, during this photo opportunity over at the
French Embassy here in Rome. And they responded, look, they're trying to patch things up, as the President said, this is the oldest alliances the
United States has France is America's oldest allies.
And the two countries have gone through a lot over all of these centuries and there's no doubt about that there was a serious problem. They're now
trying to fix it. They've got a lot of work to do. And I think substantively, in this private meeting, Kaitlan, I think you agree they're
going to have some serious heart to heart discussions.
And I think France still wants a good explanation why France was kept in the dark on the sensitive deal that the U.S. making nuclear powered
submarines available to Australia. And in the process, killing for all practical purposes, tens of billions of dollars in a French diesel powered
submarine deal that was already in the works with Australia.
COLLINS: Yes, Kate and it's so notable to hear how candid the President was there, given how his aides have handled this and what they have said, as I
was saying earlier, talking about the diplomatic speak, that they sometimes you say, greater consultation could have happened.
The president there said this was handled clumsily. He said it was unfortunate how this happened. And he said that France is a valuable
partner to the United States, of course, something he reiterated in that sentiment several times.
But also Kate, he said something that was really surprising to me. He said a follow up on sentiment that we had heard previously, which is that he
said he thought France was better informed of what was happening with that submarine deal between the United States and Australia in the United
Kingdom then they were of.
Of course, that is what infuriated them so much is not just that they lost out on this deal, as Wolf noted, was worth tens of billions of dollars. But
it was the consultation and the way it went down and the lack of communication the French said about what was happening.
And the President said there he thought France was better aware of what was actually happening. And so that's going to raise some questions. Of course,
you know who was responsible for communicating that better to France.
And to the president admitting there that that should have been handled better, is quite something but also how the French President responded, he
was talking about it as well.
But he said what's important to him now is what happens in the future, of course, the future of the relationship between Biden and Macron and, of
course, the U.S. and France here. But quite a notable candid moment, you don't often see moments like that so candid with world leaders.
These are often very carefully scripted, they usually just make short remarks you saw earlier, the president only answered a few questions and
some of those get together with the Italian heads of state, but there were the French president, he was pretty blunt.
BLITZER: And there's no doubt Kate, that so much of what has been over these past few years on Francis wish list is about to be realized as a
result of this U.S. blunder in miscommunicating or not communicating at all, with America's closest ally about this nuclear powered submarine deal.
BOLDUAN: The way that it was, as the question was asked, is the relationship repaired and Biden's full answer was my answer is, I think
what happened was to use an English phrase, what we did was clumsy, not done with a lot of grace, that's getting exactly what you were talking
about Kaitlan and how and how candid it really was.
And it was it was interesting, as Macron also said, this is the beginning of the process of trust of confidence, which we're building together,
noting that trust was broken, but that they clearly are looking forward now. Wolf, Kaitlan, thank you both so much for walking through us now. They
go into this closed door meeting.
There will be much more to come out of this very important meeting of President Biden and the French president. Kaitlan Collins, Wolf Blitzer,
thank you so much for being here with us. And thank you all. I'm Kate Bolduan. "Inside Politics" with John King begins now.