Biden, Macron to discuss Israel, Ukraine in state visit

Fresh from commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day, French President Emmanuel Macron has welcomed United States President Joe Biden in Paris for a state visit marked by pomp as well as talks on trade, Israel and Ukraine.

The visit began with a ceremony at the iconic Arc de Triomphe, where the leaders paid their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier while a massive French flag hung from the arch fluttered in the breeze.

Accompanied by their wives, Biden and Macron greeted army veterans who joined senior officials from both countries.

Escorted by French guards on horseback, the leaders then drove down the capital's renowned Avenue des Champs-Elysees, en route to the Elysee presidential palace where they will discuss policy issues and attend a dinner.

Joe Biden state visit to France
Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron rekindled a flame at the tomb of the Unknown soldier. (AP PHOTO)

The two men share a warm relationship despite past tensions over a submarine deal with Australia. Biden hosted Macron for a state visit at the White House in 2022.

"France is ... our oldest and one of our deepest allies. And this will be an important moment to affirm that alliance and also look to the future and what we have to accomplish together," US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters earlier this week.

Sullivan said talks between the two leaders would touch on Russia's war with Ukraine, Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza, cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, and policy issues ranging from climate change to artificial intelligence to supply chains.

White House spokesperson John Kirby said the countries would announce a plan to work together on maritime law enforcement and the US Coast Guard and French navy would discuss increased cooperation.

Biden and Macron were also expected to discuss strengthening NATO, and both have pledged their countries' support for Ukraine, though they have not agreed yet on a plan to use frozen Russian assets to help Kiev.

Biden met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Paris on Friday, apologising for a months-long delay by the US Congress in approving the latest package of aid, and Zelenskiy addressed France's National Assembly.

Joe Biden state visit, France
Joe Biden met French veteran Jacques Levis who landed on Utah beach on D-Day alongside US troops. (AP PHOTO)

During a speech at the American Cemetery in Normandy on Thursday, the anniversary of the allied assault against Nazi German occupiers on French beaches in World War Two, Biden called on Western powers to stay the course with Ukraine.

Macron and Biden will also confer on the situation in the Middle East.

Biden has been a staunch supporter of Israel, which is pursuing Hamas after it attacked the country in October, but tens of thousands of Palestinian deaths have soured his left-leaning political base on Israel, hurting him as he runs against Republican Donald Trump for re-election in November.

Beyond Ukraine, trade issues between the two sides of the Atlantic are likely to loom large.