Climate change summit glitch cuts off Macron, puzzles Putin

·1-min read

PARIS (Reuters) - A technical glitch at a U.S. climate summit cut off French President Emmanuel Macron mid-speech and left Russian President Vladimir Putin puzzled, demonstrating that virtual meetings can be as awkward for world leaders as they are for the rest of us.

Macron was just minutes into a speech about the urgency of climate action when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken cut in, saying, "Thank you very much Mr president, I now turn the floor to the president of the Russian Federation, his Excellency Vladimir Putin".

Macron's voice continued, however, while the camera switched to the Washington meeting room where U.S. President Joe Biden, climate envoy John Kerry and Blinken were looking at Putin on a big screen.

The sound then cut as a puzzled-looking Putin could be seen consulting with an aide as he waited for his microphone to be opened.

"The floor is now to the president of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin, Mr President," Blinken continued, inviting Putin to speak.

Putin kept waiting as Blinken could be heard saying off-screen: "We may be getting a tape, because that was a tape of Macron."

Moments later, Putin delivered his speech, after which Macron's speech started again from the beginning.

"We had some technical difficulties," Blinken said.

Macron's office confirmed that his speech had been pre-recorded, as Macron will be travelling to Chad to attend the funeral of late President Idriss Deby.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Michel Rose in Paris, and Mary Milliken in Washington; editing by Richard Lough)