Vice President Kamala Harris will address the plight of migrants and refugees next week – but the talks will have little to do with the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a report.
Harris will travel to Paris – her first European trip as vice president – and is scheduled to take part in the “Paris Conference on Libya,” where she and other world leaders will focus on the Northern African country that was run by dictator Muammar Gadhafi until his assassination in 2011.
Harris is expected to call for stronger borders for Libya — as she and President Biden continue to receive criticism from Republicans about security issues along the U.S.-Mexico border. Biden has not visited the southern border since becoming president, and Harris has made only a brief trip to El Paso, Texas, in late June.
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“We want to show support for the Libyan people as they move towards national elections and as they focus on the importance of the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries and fighters from Libya,” the White House wrote in a statement previewing Harris’ scheduled trip, according to the Washington Examiner.
“We want to build a stable and prosperous Libya free from foreign interference and capable of combatting terrorism within its borders,” the statement continued.
The vice president will also back a global approach to gender issues, rising inequality and “sports diplomacy” at a separate Paris Peace Forum, the Examiner reported.
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Harris is also scheduled to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron as the Biden administration attempts to smooth over a rift caused by France being excluded from a U.S.-Australia deal on nuclear-powered submarines, NPR reported. Macron previously met with Biden when the U.S. president was in Europe last week.
“The vice president’s visit is sort of the last straw of this procession of high-level American officials who are coming … to remind everybody that they value the French-American relationship,” Celia Belin, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe, told NPR.
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Harris and husband Douglas Emhoff are also scheduled to mark Veterans Day during the trip by paying a visit to the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial outside Paris, where more than 1,500 U.S. service members who died in World Wars I and II are buried.
The Paris trip will be the vice president’s third overseas trip. In June she visited Guatemala and Mexico to discuss the “root causes” of migration, then in August she visited Singapore and Vietnam in a bid to reassure the U.S. allies of Washington’s commitment to them amid Chinese actions in the region. The trip also included a brief stop in Japan for plane refueling.