Wednesday, September 22, 2021

'30-minute friendly call': Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron talk to resolve spat over submarine deal

US President Joe Biden and his French colleague Emmanuel Macron exchanged "friendly" phone calls on Wednesday to resolve a bitter spat over submarine sales to Australia, vowing to meet in person to mend the transatlantic alliance. The talk lasted approximately 30 minutes. It was the first between Biden and Macron since France recalled its ambassador in response to the United States' unexpected revelation of an agreement to construct nuclear submarines for Australia, which scuttled a prior French deal to sell conventional submarines.

Paris denounced the US-Australia proposal, which was announced as part of a new Indo-Pacific security group and Britain, and withdrew its ambassador from Australia as a stab in the back. Following the call, the two leaders pledged to do "in-depth talks... to ensure confidence" and to meet in Europe at the end of October. Macron also stated in the statement that he would recall France's ambassador to Washington next week. According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, the conversation was "friendly," and Biden was "hopeful this was a beginning toward returning to normal."

Also Read | Australia signs deal to get nuke submarines with US, UK help; France reacts

According to the statement, the US acknowledged the necessity for greater European defence to supplement NATO's military alliance, a major notion frequently discussed by the French president. The English-language version of the White House statement, which amounted to an admission of French rage, stated that the administration of the competing submarine agreements "would have benefitted from open consultations among allies." The Elysee Palace's French-language version was much more clear, stating that discussions "would have averted this scenario." There was no hint on the location of the October meeting, although Biden will already be in Rome and Glasgow for the G20 and COP26 climate meetings.

Also Read | France slams Australia's surprising nuclear deal, calls it 'stab in the back'



from asianetnews

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