(Paris) France will return its ambassador to Washington next week.
During a phone call, French President Emmanuel Macron and his US counterpart Joe Biden agreed to meet next month due to a row over the purchase of submarines that has long soured relations between allies.
The White House and the Elysee said in a joint statement that the two presidents “decided to open a process of in-depth consultations aimed at creating conditions to ensure confidence.” Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden will meet at the end of October in Europe.
In an unprecedented move, France recalled its ambassador after the United States, Australia and Britain announced a new defense pact between the Indo-Pacific. As part of the deal, Australia will cancel a multibillion-dollar contract to buy French diesel-electric submarines to acquire nuclear-powered US ships.
Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron agreed that “the situation would have benefited from open consultations between allies on issues of strategic importance to France and our European partners.” The US President had “expressed his continued commitment in this regard.”
The Elysee said that no decision had been made about France’s ambassador to Australia, who was also recalled last week, adding that a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not expected.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Elysee Palace said that the French president was awaiting “clarifications and clear commitments” from Joe Biden, who had requested the appeal with the President of the French Republic.
French officials called last week’s announcement a “crisis of confidence” over the Indo-Pacific Agreement. After Emmanuel Macron was officially informed just a few hours ago, this decision sparked outrage in Paris. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called it a “stab in the back”.
The Elysee now calls for “actions, not mere words”.
The Indo-Pacific defense agreement is widely seen as part of the United States’ efforts to counter a more assertive China in the region.
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