Biden asks for early talks with Macron amid row

U.S. President Joe Biden participates in a meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) on climate change, from an auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S. September 17, 2021.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

U.S. President Joe Biden has requested early talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, France said on Sunday, in an apparent effort to mend fences after a row over a submarines contract sparked rare tensions between the allies.

The announcement came after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected French accusations that Canberra had lied about plans to cancel the contract to buy French submarines, saying he had raised concerns over the deal “some months ago”.

Australia’s decision to tear up the French deal in favour of American nuclear-powered vessels sparked outrage in Paris, with Macron recalling France’s ambassadors to Canberra and Washington in an unprecedented move.


But French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Sunday that there would be a telephone conversation between Mr. Biden and Mr. Macron “in the coming days” at the request of the U.S. President.

Mr. Macron will ask Mr. Biden for “clarification” after the announcement of a U.S.-Australian-British defence pact that prompted Canberra’s cancellation of the huge contract for diesel-electric French vessels.

“We want explanations,” Mr. Attal said.

The U.S. had to answer for “what looks a lot like a major breach of trust”.

Mr. Morrison meanwhile insisted that he and his ministers had made no secret of their issues with the French vessels.

“I think they would have had every reason to know that we had deep and grave concerns,” he told reporters in Sydney. “We made very clear that we would be making a decision based on our strategic national interest.”

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 5:59:57 AM |

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