France-US relations

French foreign minister Le Drian unveils mini-Lady Liberty, talks Lebanon, Libya

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian unveiled a model of the Statue of Liberty at the French ambassador's residence in Washington.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian unveiled a model of the Statue of Liberty at the French ambassador's residence in Washington. REUTERS - EVELYN HOCKSTEIN

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian unveiled a smaller version of the Lady Liberty statue at the start of a four-day visit to the United States during which he and his US counterpart Antony Blinken are expected talk about the world's hotspots. 

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Some 135 years after the arrival of its big sister in New York, a relatively diminutive replica Statue of Liberty was unveiled in Washington as a token of American-French friendship.

The replica, standing at three meters tall - compared to the famed 300-foot-tall New York version - was inaugurated by Le Drian and Blinken.

The bronze statue was erected in the garden of the French ambassador's residence in Washington.

On its journey from Paris, it travelled via Liberty Island, south of Manhattan, home of the iconic "Liberty Enlightening the World" statue presented by France to the US in the late 19th century.

"The little sister has arrived," said Philippe Etienne, France's envoy in Washington.

"She spent a week in New York for the American national holiday - Independence Day - she was on Ellis Island, she looked at her big sister. And now she is in place for July 14," he added, referring to the French Bastille Day holiday.

On loan from France's National Conservatory of Arts and Trades (Cnam) and cast from the same mould used by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the statue travelled in a specially designed Plexiglas case in a container transported by French shipping company CMA-CGM.

Historic friendship

In meetings with Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Le Drian reaffirmed the historic friendship"between France and the US.

According to a statement from France's Foreign Ministry, Le Drian will chair two ministerial-level meetings at the UN Security Council, whose rotating monthly chairmanship has been held by France since 1 July. 

These meetings will focus on Libya on Thursday and protecting the humanitarian space on Friday.

During a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Le Drian reflected on France's increasing role in the Indo-Pacific region. 

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