Macron Shrugs Off Truss Jibe And He Says It’s Time To Be ‘Friends’

French president Emmanuel Macron has said there is a “will to move on” after the UK prime minister Liz Truss said the “jury’s out” on whether the French president is “friend or foe”.

The pair held their first bilateral meeting at the fringes of the United Nations summit in New York on Tuesday since Truss caused controversy during the Tory leadership contest.

The pair did not discuss issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol or unauthorised migrant crossings of the Channel during their meeting, Downing Street said.

These were two of the flash points that were thought to have led to Truss’s initial comment.

The prime minister had a “constructive” conversation lasting around half-an-hour, No.10 said, but it focused on energy security rather than the two major points of contention.

Macron reportedly welcomed their conversations on Ukraine and other European issues, saying: “I now believe in proof, in results.

“There is a will to re-engage, to move on and to show that we are allies and friends in a complex world.”

Prime minister Liz Truss holds a bilateral meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron during her visit to the US.

Stefan Rousseau via PA Wire/PA Images

Ahead of the meeting, Truss sought to strike a conciliatory tone, stressing the need to work together on small boats and against Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

She had sparked a diplomatic row during the Tory leadership contest when she declined to give a clear answer when asked if the president of the allied nation was a “friend or foe”.

Instead, the then-foreign secretary said last month that the “jury’s out”.

One thing Macron did raise, according to No 10, was his idea of forming a European Political Community to include non-EU states such as the UK.

He did not invite Britain to a meeting about the grouping to be held in Prague in October, the spokesman said.

Truss’s official spokesman said the government intends to resolve protocol issues with the EU, adding: “This is not an issue that necessarily we believe can be solved through one single EU country.”

But the spokesman would not say whether she will raise the protocol with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday.

Ahead of her meeting with Macron, Truss had stressed that tackling migrant crossings in small boats was one of the issues the two nations must work together on.

“That is one of the issues that we need to work with France in a constructive way on,” Truss told reporters.

However, the prime minister’s official spokesman said that the stalled Rwanda policy is the “long term solution” to crossings after confirming the pair did not discuss the issue.

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