UK, France look to reset frayed ties under Rishi Sunak

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After years of public rows and even a brief naval stand-off in the Channel, Britain and France are looking to reset their relations under new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron met for the first time as leaders on the sidelines of the UN’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt on Monday. “Friends,” wrote Sunak over a tweeted picture of the two statesmen in an obvious reference to his short-lived predecessor Liz Truss, who said in Au-gust she was undecided on whether the French leader was a “friend or foe”.

On Wednesday, Macron followed up by an-nouncing that the countries would hold a defence summit at the start of next year, ending years of minimal bilateral meetings.

“Our partnership with the United Kingdom must also be raised to another level,” the 43-year-old said during speech in the southern French naval base in Toulon.

The objective was to “renew the ambitions of our two countries as friends and allies,” he explained.

Macron and Sunak, 42, have much in common at a superficial level, being of similar height and age, as well as sharing a love for slick communications and sharply tailored navy-blue suits.

But the similarities run deeper: their fathers were medics, both are privately educated, and each of them had a career in banking before entering politics — Macron at Rothschild, Sunak at Goldman Sachs.—AFP

 

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