22:58 GMT01 March 2021
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    Just weeks into a new White House administration, Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday held her second call with a foreign leader, as she spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron after a conversation earlier in February with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    Vice President Kamala Harris has been raising eyebrows among critics after taking calls on behalf of President Joe Biden, feeding into speculations that she will play an important role in the White House.

    An official readout published on Tuesday entitled “Readout of Vice President Kamala Harris Call with President Emmanuel Macron of France” stated that the Vice President had spoken with President Emmanuel Macron of France to expressed her “commitment to strengthening bilateral ties between the United States and France and to revitalising the transatlantic alliance”.

    Harris and Macron also “agreed on the need for close bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change, and support democracy at home and around the world,, according to the White House readout.

    They also discussed a plethora of regional issues, extending to the Middle East and Africa, and the “need to confront them together”.

    Earlier Harris spoke with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as with World Health Organisation Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in January, writes the New York Post.

    On 1 February Harris and Trudeau dwelt on “the United States’ desire to work closely with Canada on a wide range of issues, including combating the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing climate change, and expanding our economic partnership in ways that advance the recovery and create jobs,” said the office of the Vice President, cited by the outlet.

    U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a foreign policy address as Vice President Kamala Harris listens during a visit to the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 4, 2021
    © REUTERS / TOM BRENNER
    U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a foreign policy address as Vice President Kamala Harris listens during a visit to the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 4, 2021

    President Joe Biden had earlier spoken with Justin Trudeau on 22 January in his first call as president with a foreign nation’s leader.

    He also spoke with France’s President Macron on the phone on 24 January. Biden has since conferred with the leaders of the UK, Germany, Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia and India.

    Coming just weeks into the new administration, the calls by the Vice President have, however, led critics to point out that a review of press notices from predecessor Vice President Mike Pence’s final year in office reveals no readouts of direct calls with leaders of foreign nations.

    Pence occasionally spoke directly by phone with foreign leaders, yet the role throughout 2020 was generally performed by former President Donald Trump.

    In earlier years, Pence had conferred and sometimes met with foreign leaders during trips abroad.

    Mike Pence spoke on the phone with Justin Trudeau in 2019 and with the presidents of Argentina and Australia in 2017. He also had conversations in 2018 and 2019 with Colombia’s president, Ivan Duque Marquez, spoke in 2018 with Iraq’s prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and in 2019 with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the role of the vice president in foreign policy has been boosted since the mid-20th century, with Dick Cheney, 46th vice president of the United States from 2001 to 2009, credited with having helped shape President George W. Bush’s foreign policy priorities during his tenure.

    However, conservatives have repeatedly voiced concerns about Joe Biden’s ability to shoulder his duties as the oldest president ever elected, at the age of 78.

    Netizens also weighed in on the news, with some calling into question the ability of President Biden to “do his job”.

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    Tags:
    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Volodymyr Zelensky, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden
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