October 20, 2021

Biden called for initial talks with Macron in the middle of the submarine line.

US President Joe Biden has called for early talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, France said on Sunday, adding that the apparent attempt to fix the fences following a dispute over the submarine deal has sparked rare tensions between allies.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied French allegations that Canberra lied about plans to cancel a deal to buy French submarines, saying he had “agreed” to the deal “a few months ago”. But expressed concerns.

Australia’s decision to tear down a French deal in favor of US nuclear-powered ships has sparked outrage in Paris, with Macron recalling French ambassadors from Canberra and Washington in an unprecedented move.

But French government spokesman Gabriel Atl said on Sunday that Biden and Macron would have a telephone conversation “in the coming days” at the request of the US president.

Macron will seek an “explanation” from the US president following the announcement of a defense deal between Australia and Britain, which prompted Canberra to cancel a major deal for diesel-electric French aircraft.

“We want clarification,” Atal said. The United States has had to respond with “what seems to be a breach of trust.”

Morrison insisted that he and his ministers did not keep their problems with French ships a secret.

“I think they have every reason to know that we are deeply concerned,” he told reporters in Sydney. “We have made it very clear that we will make decisions based on our strategic national interest.”

Submarine
The agreement applies US nuclear submarine technology as well as cyber defense, artificial intelligence and submarine capabilities to Australia. Photo: US Navy / Jamaica Johnson

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday explicitly used non-diplomatic language for Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, part of a tripartite security agreement announced Wednesday that caused the rift. ۔

“Lies, duplicity, trust and insults have been grossly violated,” Le Drian told France 2 television.

The recall of the ambassadors for the first time in the history of relations with the countries was “to show how unhappy we are and that there is a serious crisis between us.”

The French contract for the supply of conventional submarines to Australia was worth 50 50 billion (36.5 billion, 31 billion euros) when it was signed in 2016.

Morrison said he understood France’s frustration, but added: “I do not regret the decision to put Australia’s national interest first. It will never happen.”

Defense Minister Peter Dutton also insisted that Canberra had been “clear, open and honest” about its concerns about the agreement with Paris – a claim that was immediately rejected by French Defense Minister Florence Parley.

During a visit to Niger, he said his statement was incorrect. “We have never been informed of Australia’s intentions.”

Nuclear submarines
Graphic photo on nuclear submarines around the world: AFP / John Sackie

Le Drian also issued a stern response to a question as to why France did not recall its ambassador to Britain over the Axis security agreement.

“With the UK, there is no need. We know their persistent opportunism. So there is no need to bring back our ambassador for clarification,” he said.

He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was important for Britain.

He added that NATO would have to account for what had happened as it would review its strategy at next year’s summit in Madrid.

He said France would now prioritize the EU’s security strategy when it takes over the presidency of the bloc in early 2022.

Meanwhile, a French Defense Ministry source said that Paris had canceled a meeting between Defense Minister Florence Parley and her British counterpart Ben Wallace this week.

A Defense Ministry source in London said he could not confirm or deny the cancellation of the meeting, but said the two countries had “maintained a strong and close defense partnership with France, as it is capable of meeting the UK.” Trusts are allies. “

Biden has announced a new Australia-US-UK defense alliance aimed at countering China’s rise.

It extends US nuclear submarine technology to Australia, and uses cyber defense, artificial intelligence and submarine capabilities.

Le Drian called it a “stab in the back” and said the Biden administration’s behavior was comparable to that of Donald Trump, whose sudden policy changes have disappointed European allies.

French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune has hinted that the dispute could affect Australia’s chances of moving towards a trade deal with the European Union, its third-largest trading partner.

For the United States, this line has created a deep rift in its old alliance and shattered hopes of a rapid renaissance in post-Trump relations.

On Saturday, State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated the United States’ unwavering commitment to its alliance with France.

Meanwhile, Australia has defied Chinese anger over its order for nuclear-powered submarines.

Beijing called the new alliance a “very irresponsible threat” and warned Western allies that they risked shooting themselves in the foot.

Copyright AFP All rights reserved.

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