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France-US tension eases after Biden-Macron chat; French envoy to return

  • Sep 23, 2021
  • Author: QT-Online
  • Number of views: 2447
  • Top News
Days after the announcement of a strategic partnership between the US, UK and Australia created a major rift in ties between Washington and France, tension has started to ease. France was outraged after Australia abandoned a deal worth over $60 billion to build 12 diesel-electric submarines designed by French company Naval Group. The decision was prompted by the US and UK announcing they would provide technology and assistance to Australia to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron spoke to each other on the phone for half-an-hour on Wednesday in a chat that the White House described as "friendly". The two leaders agreed to meet at the end of October in Europe to discuss the way forward in ties.
The two sides released a statement saying Biden and Macron "have decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring confidence”.
The statement quoted Biden and Macron as having agreed "that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners". White House press secretary Jen Psaki evaded questions on whether Biden had apologised for the spat. She said, "The president is hopeful this is a step in returning to normal in a long, important, abiding relationship that the United States has with France."
Following the conversation, France announced it would send its ambassador back to Washington next week. France recalled its ambassadors to the US, UK and Australia in the wake of the outrage over the announcement of the three-nation partnership.