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Fri, 23 October 2020

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Boris Johnson to meet Emmanuel Macron as pair mark French Resistance anniversary amid Covid-19 pandemic

Boris Johnson to meet Emmanuel Macron as pair mark French Resistance anniversary amid Covid-19 pandemic

Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson during a 2019 meeting. (PA)

2 min read

Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron will mark the 80th anniversary of the French Resistance when they meet in London today amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The French President is in the UK to commemorate eight decades since wartime leader Charles de Gaulle broadcast his ‘Appel’ message to Nazi-occupied France from London.

The meeting is also expected to see the pair discuss the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, with Mr Johnson this week confirming safe travel between the two countries would be raised amid French objections to the UK’s quarantine of all arrivals.

The talks also come amid deadlocked negotiations on Britain’s bid to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, although French officials have told The Guardian that the issue can only be discussed at EU-level.

One UK minister told The Times: “This is an important moment in the context of Brexit. 

“Things haven’t been easy but there will be a very clear message of friendship from us.”

As part of the visit, the Government has announced that four French resistance fighters will receive honorary MBEs to mark their service.

Mr Johnson said four surviving ‘Compagnons’ of the Order of Liberation — Edgard Tupet-Thome, 100, Daniel Bouyjou-Cordier, 99, Hubert Germain, 99, and Pierre Simonet, 98 — would be honoured as a tribute to their "courage and sacrifice in defending us and the whole world from fascism".

The two leaders will also view artefacts and letters from general de Gaulle’s time leading the resistance from London, the Government said.

Mr Macron — whose team have been exempted from the UK’s quaratine rules that require all arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days — will be welcomed to the country by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

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