Macron-Biden will hold his call “in the coming days”


France said it was recalling its ambassadors over a trilateral security deal involving Britain that sank the multibillion-dollar order for French submarines



Reuters

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Paris

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Posted on 09.20.21 at 12:09 am


French President Emmanuel Macron will have a phone call with US President Joe Biden in the coming days, the French government spokesman said on Sunday, amid a diplomatic crisis sparked by Australia’s cancellation of a submarine contract with Paris.

France announced on Friday that it was recalling its ambassadors in Washington and Canberra over a trilateral security deal also involving Britain, which sank the multibillion-dollar order for French submarines.

“President Biden has asked to speak to the President of the Republic and there will be a telephone interview in the coming days between President Macron and President Biden,” Gabriel Attal told news channel BFM TV.

France would seek “clarification” on the cancellation of the order for submarines, Attal said.

The breach of the contract, struck in 2016, was all the rage in Paris, which claims not to have been consulted by its allies.

Emmanuel Macron.

After the initial “shock” of the cancellation, discussions are expected to take place on the terms of the contract, including compensation for the French side, Attal added.

Australia’s “concerns”

Australia defended its decision on Sunday to drop the order for French submarines and opt instead for an alternative deal with the United States and Britain, saying it had reported its concerns to Paris there. has months.

“I do not regret the decision to put Australia’s national interest first,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.

Morrison said he understood France’s disappointment at the cancellation of the order – valued at $ 40 billion in 2016 and estimated at a much higher cost today – but reiterated that Australia still owes make decisions in their best interest.

“This is an issue that I raised directly a few months ago and we have continued to discuss these issues, including by defense ministers and others,” he said during a briefing.

As part of its new trilateral security partnership, Australia will build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with American and British technology. The abandoned agreement, concluded with the French naval group in 2016, concerned a fleet of conventional submarines.

The new trilateral deal has cast doubt on the united front Biden seeks to forge against China’s growing power.

European Union leaders will certainly discuss the issue during talks in Slovenia on October 5, an EU diplomat said, adding that he had raised questions about transatlantic relations and the country’s own geopolitical ambitions. Europe in the Indo-Pacific region.

“I think the French … will shoot him for all he’s worth,” the diplomat said, referring to Macron’s long-standing support for greater European strategic autonomy, although many states in the EU are reluctant to weaken security ties with the US.

Japan was particularly disappointed because then Prime Minister Tony Abbott had promised the close defense ally the contract before he was ousted by his own party in 2015.

The government has denied media reports of disagreements between partners in the French submarine project and delays from the initial delivery date of 2027.

There have been concerns about an emerging defense capability gap that the aging Australian-made Collins-class conventional submarines could not fill.


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