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US President Joe Biden meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 1, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

WASHINGTON: France and the United States agree on the need to continue to support Ukraine in its war against Russia and will be there in order to build peace, once the moment is right, French President Emmanuel Macron said at a joint news conference with his US counterpart on Thursday.

“When the moment is right and under conditions for their territories which will be determined by the Ukrainians, we will be there to help building peace,” Macron said.

Earlier, Biden and Macron renewed their commitment to fighting Russia’s war on Ukraine in a White House meeting where the allies also acknowledged tensions over handling the economic stress of the war.

Biden is hosting Macron at the first state visit since the US leader took office in early 2021. Biden and his wife Jill greeted Macron and his wife Brigitte with hugs, kisses and broad smiles as they celebrated more than 200 years of US-French relations.

In a joint statement issued after their Oval Office talks, the two leaders said they were committed to holding Russia to account “for widely documented atrocities and war crimes, committed both by its regular armed forces and by its proxies” in Ukraine.

“France and the United States are facing down Vladimir Putin’s grasping ambition for conquest” and “defending the democratic values and universal human rights which are the heart of both our nations,” Biden said.

“It doesn’t mean that every single solitary thing we agree on,” he said. “But it does mean we agree on almost everything.”

Macron said the two nations had a shared responsibility to protect democracies on both sides of the ocean and face the direct and indirect consequences of the war in Ukraine together.

“A carbon-neutral economy, creating a lot of jobs, which means investing a lot in our economies, and we have to synchronize our actions on this issue,” he said.

The Macrons arrived in Washington on Tuesday for his second state visit to the United States since taking office in 2017.

Biden, 80, and Macron, 44, have had many meetings at international gatherings but this will be the most amount of time they have spent together. A glittering state dinner was planned, with 200 Maine lobsters flown in for the occasion.

The men smiled as they shared asides and appeared at ease with each other before their talks.

Macron told the French community in Washington that the cost of the war in Ukraine was much higher in Europe than in the United States and that Europe risked falling behind if the subsidies siphoned new investments. This could “fragment the West,” he said.

There was no sign that Biden was prepared to make concessions.