Macron to meet with Biden amid submarine crisis – .

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Macron to meet with Biden amid submarine crisis – .


PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with President Joe Biden in the coming days during their first contact since a major diplomatic crisis erupted between France and the United States over a submarine deal with Australia, an official said on Sunday.

The phone call is at Biden’s request, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, adding that there was initially “shock” and “anger” in France following the announcement of the OK. But now it’s time to try to move forward, he said.

What the French are now calling a “serious crisis” erupted following the sudden and unexpected end of a contract of at least $ 66 billion between France and Australia in 2016 for the construction of 12 sub- conventional diesel-electric sailors. Instead, Australia signed with the United States and Britain for eight nuclear-powered submarines. France insists it was not informed of the deal in advance.

France has recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia as a sign of the gravity of the crisis.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met the two ambassadors on Sunday to discuss “the strategic consequences of the current crisis,” the ministry said without further details.

“What is at stake in this case, this crisis, are strategic issues before being commercial issues,” Attal told BFMTV. “The question is… the forces present, the balance, in the Indo-Pacific, where part of our future is at stake, and our relations with China. “

The U.S. deal reflects America’s pivot to the Indo-Pacific region, seen as increasingly strategic as China strengthens its influence there. However, France feels that the agreement is underway in a region where it has long had a strong presence that it too is trying to strengthen, in addition to a five-year contract with Australia.

“France is an Indo-Pacific country,” Attal said, highlighting the French territory of New Caledonia, the French citizens living in the region and the French military forces based there.

The Indo-Pacific is also a problem for Europe, he said.

Macron will seek an explanation from Biden on what led to a “major breach of trust,” the spokesperson added. “There was a moment of shock, of anger… Now we have to move on. “

Friday evening, Le Drian blasted what France considers a betrayal marked by “duplicity, contempt and lies” in the case of the submarines.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday that France “would have had every reason to know that we have deep and serious concerns” about the capacity of France’s Attack-class submarines, which he says do not cannot meet Australia’s strategic interests.

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