US government ‘annoyed’ by Macron’s Ukraine push – Bloomberg

The White House is “annoyed” by French President Emmanuel Macron’s unilateral attempt to initiate diplomatic negotiations on the Russia-Ukraine conflict with mediation by China, sources have told Bloomberg.

According to people familiar with the US government’s thinking on the issue, the recent move by the French leader “hasn’t gone down well in Washington,” the agency reported on Sunday.

The sources claimed that “the White House was annoyed by what they see as Macron freelancing on a delicate diplomatic issue without consulting with allies.”

The people quoted by Bloomberg also said they did not believe the French president’s initiative would be successful, pointing out that he had proposed other peace plans during the conflict, but later backtracked on them.

They claimed it was “clear” that Beijing had no intention of using its influence on Moscow regarding the situation in Ukraine, the report said.

Last week, Bloomberg cited anonymous sources as saying France has been looking to revive peace talks between Russia and Ukraine by this summer with Chinese help.

Macron was claimed to have asked his foreign policy adviser, Emmanuel Bonne, to work directly with Wang Yi, the top Chinese official in charge of foreign relations, on formulating a roadmap for settling the crisis.

During his visit to Beijing earlier in April, Macron urged his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to use his influence to make Russia “come to its senses” regarding Ukraine. However, according to media reports, he failed to persuade China to closer align its policy on the conflict with the Western one.

Beijing has been saying for months that peace talks are needed in Ukraine while stressing that any settlement should respect the interests of all parties. Chinese officials have also blamed the outbreak of the conflict on the actions of the US and its allies, including NATO’s eastward expansion.

Following his trip to Beijing, Macron tried to distance Paris from Washington’s aggressive line on China, saying “the Europeans can’t resolve the crisis in Ukraine,” so they mustn’t allow themselves to be dragged into the confrontation between the US and China over Taiwan. Europe should look for “strategic autonomy,” he insisted.

Macron’s efforts to improve relations with China and get involved in the peace process in Ukraine have been criticized by other EU nations as premature and jeopardizing the bloc’s unity.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who also visited China, has fully backed the US stance on Taiwan. Her Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki said that the EU will be “shooting into our own knee” if it tries looking for “strategic autonomy” because it will only make the bloc dependent on Beijing.

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