French president Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to Algeria, took time to comment on remarks from the most serious candidate to become the next British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and said he would not for a second hesitate to say the United Kingdom is a friend of France, despite its leaders or minor mistakes.
The British people, the United Kingdom, is a friendly, strong and allied nation, regardless of its leaders, and sometimes in spite of its leaders or the little mistakes they may make when grandstanding, Macron said.
Remarks were aimed at Ms Truss who at a campaign event on Thursday night, when asked, President Macron, friend or foe?, Truss replied: The jury's out. But if I become prime minister, I'll judge him on deeds, not words.
But Monsieur le president Macron has no doubts about Anglo-French relations. When confronted with Truss' comments by journalists and asked for a response, Macron paused, raised his eyebrows, inhaled and exhaled deeply for a few seconds before answering.
Listen, it's never a good thing to lose your bearings in life, Macron said. If France and Britain cannot say whether they are friends or enemies... then we are headed for serious problems.
Macron said that whoever wins the Conservative leadership contest, he would not doubt his answer for a single second, also noting this was all the more important in an increasingly complicated world.
Back in Britain, outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson was trying to mend bridges switching to his somewhat limited French to describe Macron as a friend of the UK.
”I think I've always had very good relations with Emmanuel Macron. Emmanuel est un très bon buddy de notre pays (a very good buddy of our country), Johnson told broadcasters.
Johnson added: I think the relations between the UK and France are of huge importance.
Britain's opposition Labour Party foreign affairs spokesman David Lammy criticized Truss, saying the fact she had chosen to needlessly insult one of our closest allies shows a terrible and worrying lack of judgment.”
However Brexit soured cross-Channel relations.
The two neighbors have quarreled over immigration and post-Brexit trade across the Irish Sea. The UK even deployed the Royal Navy during a fisheries dispute. And earlier this week, some French lawmakers complained to the European Commission that the UK had poured sewage into the English Channel.