Macron to host Blinken in Paris for talks on Ukraine and Gaza

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday on supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia and the Israel-Hamas conflict.

France is among major military suppliers to Ukraine, which has faced critical shortages of arms and troops as it holds off an onslaught of Russian attacks.

The United States has been the key military backer for Ukraine but a $60 billion (€55 billion) aid package has been held up in Congress.

Paris has also advocated for a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The United States, Israel’s main ally, recently let pass a UN Security Council resolution that calls for a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan.

In a symbolic visit, Blinken was to accompany France’s Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu to a factory near Paris of Franco-German defence group KNDS, which makes artillery guns being used in Ukraine.

Blinken is also to go to the Paris headquarters of the UN cultural organisation, UNESCO that the United States to hold a meeting with its leader, Audrey Azoulay.

The visit marks the first trip to France for Blinken in nearly two years.

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