On Monday, Emmanuel Macron was filmed on the sidelines of the G7 meeting in Bavaria, interrupting a discussion between the American president and his national security adviser. The microphones were then able to record the French president relating his exchange with the Emirati authorities about oil. The readiness of the Head of State, his cavalier attitude towards his counterpart and this breach of confidentiality question observers.
Running after the President of the United States of America, interrupting the discussion between the latter and one of his closest advisers, all to talk to him about a phone call to the United Arab Emirates in the hope of see them increase their production of barrels of oil. The arrest of Joe Biden by Emmanuel Macron on Monday evening, on the sidelines of the G7 summit being held at Elmau Castle in Bavaria, is surprising. Especially since it happened in front of microphones and cameras.
To fully understand the scene, it should be remembered that the leaders of the seven leading world powers, pushed by the Americans, said they intended to cap the price of Russian oil, and that to ease the pressure on the amount of gasoline, they are now trying to convince other producing countries to deliver more barrels.
“Sorry to interrupt you”
It is therefore in this context that we discover Emmanuel Macron catching up with his American counterpart, then immersed in a conversation with Jake Sullivan, his national security adviser. “Joe! Mr. President, sorry to interrupt you,” begins the head of state. He continues, referring to a telephone interview with Mohamed Ben Zayed:
“I decided to call the president of the United Arab Emirates. I asked him to increase his production. He answered me two things. One, ‘I am at the maximum’ – in any case, it is what he says – and two, according to him, the Saudis can increase theirs a little, by 150 (thousands of barrels, editor’s note) or a little more, but not in large capacity and over the next six months”.
He continues: “Finally, in terms of what we are going to do with Russian oil, he told me that we have to make sure that India…”
However, we will never know what will be demanded of New Delhi because Emmanuel Macron, who was visibly reminded of the presence of the press cameras nearby, was then stopped in his tracks, then dropping: “Yes, we are going speak within”.
American embarrassment, Emirati embarrassment
Another video circulating on social media provides the off-screen footage of this scene, showing Jake Sullivan pointing to the lenses and pleading to take up the talk from behind the walls.
Emmanuel Macron’s indiscretion has in any case put the Emirati authorities at odds. The Minister of Energy thus tweeted in the process: “In view of recent reports, I would like to clarify that the Emirates have almost reached their maximum production capacity”.
“He had no interest in saying that in front of the cameras”
On the side of analysts and observers, it is rather perplexity that dominates. On BFMTV on Monday evening, the former French ambassador to the United States, diplomat Gérard Araud, said: “I think that Emmanuel Macron did not see that we were listening to him. He had no interest to say that in front of the cameras. He was surprised.”
BFMTV’s columnist for foreign issues, Anthony Bellanger, believes for his part: “Even less interest that the issue is really there. What he talks about for a minute with Joe Biden, a little embarrassed by the way , is crucial! Joe Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia in a few days to swallow his hat, discussing with the crown prince whom he had nevertheless said was an outcast, and with whom he did not want to discuss but only with his father king.”
Joe Biden will indeed travel to Riyadh on July 15 and 16. The least we can say is that Emmanuel Macron’s trailer does not encourage optimism around this trip.