Macron: West can’t have ‘dual standards’ over Gaza and Ukraine

Emmanuel Macron makes his point to Joe Biden in Paris
Emmanuel Macron makes his point to Joe Biden in Paris - Blondet Eliot/ABACA/Shutterstock

Emmanuel Macron has said the West cannot have “dual standards” over conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine, as he hosted Joe Biden in Paris.

The French president spoke alongside his US counterpart at a press conference and drew parallels between the conflicts and Western efforts to end them.

He said that while the US and France “see eye to eye” on Ukraine, their “respect for international law…concerns other crises as well”.

“There should be no dual standards, and although there are many crises around the world, we’re still applying the self-same principles with the self-same determination in Gaza,” he said.

Mr Biden is on a rare foreign visit during the 2024 election campaign, and was hosted by Mr Macron for a state dinner at the Élysée Palace on Saturday night.

He spent two days in northern France at commemorations to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, including at an international ceremony that Rishi Sunak controversially failed to attend.

However, Mr Sunak will meet the pair next week at the G7 summit in Apulia, southern Italy, where Mr Macron said he hoped to reach agreement on a new €50 billion (£42 billion) “Solidarity Fund” for Ukraine.

The next major meeting, at the Nato leaders’ summit in Washington DC on July 9, will be attended by whichever UK party leader wins the general election five days earlier.

Mr Biden welcomed the news of the rescue of four hostages in Israel, telling reporters: “We won’t stop working until all the hostages come home and a ceasefire is reached. That is essential to happen.”

Mr Macron called for an immediate end to Israel’s military operation in Gaza, which began after the Oct 7 Hamas terror attacks.

“After nine months of conflict, the situation in Rafah and the human consequences are unacceptable,” he said.

“It is not acceptable that Israel should not open all checkpoints to humanitarian aid, as requested by the international community for months. Israeli operations should stop there.”

Mr Biden was welcomed to Paris by a parade from the Arc de Triomphe, along the Champs-Élysées to the Élysée Palace.
He met military veterans and watched pipers and mounted cavalry process towards the palace.

It is unusual for an American leader to spend so long outside of the country in the months leading up to a presidential election, although Mr Biden has used the trip to make coded references to Donald Trump, his Republican rival.

On Friday, he gave a speech from Pointe du Hoc, the site of American troop landings on D-Day, and warned of the threat of authoritarianism abroad and in the United States.

His approach is in sharp contrast to that of Mr Sunak, who attended D-Day commemorations on Thursday morning but left Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, to deputise for him at the main event on Omaha beach in the afternoon.

Neither leader made reference to Mr Sunak’s absence on Saturday but Mr Macron told Mr Biden: “Our veterans and those of all the allies were honoured by your presence and that of other leaders on June 6.”

Mr Biden said in return that France was America’s “oldest ally” and that US independence “would not have been possible” without the assistance of France in its war against Britain.

“We’re a nation because of France, in large part [because] you stepped up when we needed help, and you did it,” he said.