Biden claims that the ‘clumsy’ US sparked the submarine dispute with France.

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Biden claims that the ‘clumsy’ US sparked the submarine dispute with France.

At the start of a European trip in which he also sought to end a bitter diplomatic row with France by conceding that his country had been “clumsy” in its dealings with Paris, Pope Francis dubbed US President Joe Biden a “decent Catholic.”

Biden launched off a European tour geared at reinforcing his credo that “America is back” after Donald Trump’s tumultuous years in the White House, arriving at the Vatican for a pope encounter that lasted more than an hour — longer than his two predecessors were afforded.

Biden, who is only the second Catholic to occupy the presidency, claimed Francis expressed delight that “I was a decent Catholic” during the talks, which avoided the divisive issue of abortion.

The US president, who was scheduled to attend a weekend G20 conference in Rome followed by grueling UN climate talks in Glasgow, later met with French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since a spat over a multibillion-euro submarine sale.

“What we did was clumsy, and it wasn’t done with a lot of elegance,” Biden admitted, apologizing publicly for the United States’ treatment of one of its longest allies.

Last month, Paris responded angrily to the news of a new US-UK-Australia pact, which effectively ended Australia’s previous arrangement with France.

Biden’s other meetings with the pope were private, but film published by the Holy See showed a cheerful gathering full of smiles, with the president visibly affected at times and telling the pope, “God love ya.”

As he presented the pontiff with a presidential coin commemorating the regiment in which his son Beau Biden, who died of illness in 2015, had served, he called him “the most significant warrior of peace I have ever encountered.”

Biden remarked, “I know my son would want me to give this to you.”

The president, who is vocal about his faith and how it helps him, has seen Francis three times previously, but this was their first meeting since he took office.

Following the weekend G20 summit, Biden will go to Glasgow for the COP26 climate talks.

Both Biden and the Pope have been vocal about the need to address global warming, and it was a major topic of discussion during their meeting.

“I praised His Holiness’ leadership in combating the climate problem and ending it, and commended him for his support for the world’s poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution.” The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.

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