Biden speaks with Macron, first time since diplomatic row

President Biden spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday for the first time since the United States and Britain struck a n...


President Biden spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday for the first time since the United States and Britain struck a new defense deal with Australia that scuttled a French $ 60 billion project. dollars in the construction of submarines and led France to declare that its oldest ally had delivered a “knife in the back”.

The two leaders have agreed to meet in Europe next month, likely on the sidelines of the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Italy, although White House advisers have said they may have a separate meeting elsewhere. to underline their determination to repair the damage.

The White House called the conversation “friendly,” just days after Mr Macron recalled the French ambassador to the United States and suggested that Mr Biden had seriously damaged the alliance.

While the United States did not apologize for the efforts to keep France in the dark, the statement by the United States and France said that “the two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefited from consultations. open between allies on questions of strategic interest to France. and our European partners.

He said that “President Biden has expressed his continued commitment in this regard” and that the countries have “decided to open a process of extensive consultations, aimed at creating the conditions to ensure confidence and propose concrete measures towards common objectives “. While this statement is drafted in bland diplomatic language, it describes the type of consultations that are supposed to be routine among NATO allies.

While the joint announcement vaguely referred to common European defense projects, these did not appear to be new – the language appeared to be taken from previous NATO statements. Nonetheless, US officials were belatedly looking for special projects they could announce to reaffirm the relationship with France, including new projects in the Indo-Pacific, although some senior officials said they feared anything that ‘they put together could look like a transparent, transparent face. economy of effort, especially in relation to the scope of the Australian, American and British partnership.

The heart of last week’s announcement was a plan to build conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines to be operated by the Australian Navy, which are clearly designed to counter China’s growing influence in the Peaceful. The submarines would have a much wider range than the diesel-electric models that France was planning to build, as part of an agreement announced in 2019.

But the real scope of the new arrangement was much wider: it firmly linked Australia to the Western defense camp by challenging China, after years in which Australian leaders carefully attempted to strike a balance between their most important ally in the West. defense and intelligence in Washington and their huge client for natural resources in Beijing. Now, after the Chinese government has exaggerated its hand with both political bullying and major disinformation campaigns in Australia, the country has declared itself a full partner in the Western effort to counter the growing influence of the United States. China.

But the move came as a shock to French leaders, who knew the submarine deal was in trouble but were kept in the dark about secret negotiations between Britain, the United States and the United States. Australia that started last spring.

A statement ahead of the Elysee Palace meeting said Mr. Macron had agreed to hold the conversation at Mr. Biden’s request, and that he was awaiting “clarification on the U.S. decision to hold an ally at the trade gap establishing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. “

The statement, again reflecting Mr Macron’s anger at what is seen in France as betrayal, adds: “We expect our allies to recognize that the discussions and consultations that should have taken place have not taken place. took place, and that this raises a question of trust, the consequences of which must be examined together.

The statement also called on the United States to recognize the strategic importance of French and European engagement in the Indo-Pacific, asserting that the United States should fully recognize “the need to strengthen European sovereignty, as well as importance of growing European engagement. for their defense and security.

Mr Macron was particularly offended, Western diplomats said, that Mr Biden did not mention it when they met in June at another summit. On the same day as that meeting, Mr Biden also met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to put the finishing touches on the deal. US officials have insisted that Mr Biden was not seeking to deceive the French, but instead relied on Australia to break the news to Mr Macron. It was not for the United States, they insisted, to disentangle Australia from its contract with France.

Mr Biden met with Mr Johnson and Mr Morrison, separately, on Tuesday.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden speaks with Macron, first time since diplomatic row
Biden speaks with Macron, first time since diplomatic row
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