Biden, Macron pledge cooperation in Middle East and preventing Iranian nuclear weapon

“The Presidents also express their respect for the Iranian people, in particular women and youth, who are bravely protesting to gain the freedom to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms, which Iran itself has subscribed to and is violating,” a joint statement read.

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US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron devoted a significant part of their joint statement on Thursday to the Middle East, vowing to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and committing to engaging with allies in the region.

“France and the United States are determined to work closely in support of peace and prosperity in the Middle East,” the statement read after Biden invited Macron for the State Visit under his presidency.

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Washington and Paris have coordinated closely on a wide range of issues in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq and Lebanon.

The pair welcomed the launch of the Negev Forum, which was formed under the Biden administration to usher in a new era of cooperation in the region between Israel and other states.

Under former President Donald Trump, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco signed a historic peace deal with Israel named the Abraham Accords.

The Negev Forum is Biden’s work to build upon and try to expand peace between Arab states and Israel.

Biden and Macron also highlighted their coordination to mediate the maritime border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel in October.

“They are determined to sustain joint efforts to urge Lebanon’s leaders to elect a president and advance critical reforms,” the US and French presidents said about the crisis-struck Mediterranean state.

On Thursday, Lebanese politicians failed to elect a president for the eighth time since Michel Aoun’s term ended in October.

As for Iraq and Syria, Biden and Macron said they were committed to the counterterrorism missions in Iraq and Syria as members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. They added that they would work to improve the “grave” humanitarian situation faced by the Syrian people and continue working to find a solution to the Syrian conflict.

While tensions continue to boil in the region, Paris co-organized the Baghdad Summit last summer to ease these tensions.

Macron and Biden said there would be a follow-up on the August 2021 summit.

Iran

On Iran, the leaders expressed their respect for the protests and the protesters who have been taking the streets since the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after being detained for improper hijab.

“The Presidents also express their respect for the Iranian people, in particular women and youth, who are bravely protesting to gain the freedom to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms, which Iran itself has subscribed to and is violating,” the joint statement read on Thursday.

Further criticizing the Iranian regime, Biden and Macron said they were determined to ensure that Iran “can never develop or acquire a nuclear weapon.”

They said that the two countries would continue highlighting Iran’s nuclear escalation and its destabilizing activities in the Middle East.

Most urgent is Iran’s transfers of missiles and drones to non-state actors, including in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and as far as Russia.

“These transfers can threaten key Gulf partners and stability and security in the region, contravene international law, and now contribute to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” Biden and Macron said.

Read more: Ukraine, economic competitiveness to be focus of Macron visit to US: France

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