September 19, 2021
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden will have a phone call in the coming days to discuss the escalating diplomatic crisis stemming from Australia’s cancellation of a billion-euro submarine deal with France.
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced on TV station BFMTV that the discussion would take place “in the next few days” at Biden’s request.
Paris is furious at Washington over a landmark military pact between the U.S., the U.K. and Australia that prompted Canberra to axe a €50 billion-plus contract with France’s Naval Group to build a fleet of submarines. France has since recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the U.S. in protest.
“What’s at stake in this case, in this crisis, is a strategic issue before being a commercial one,” Attal said, arguing that France was a major actor in the Indo-Pacific area because it had territories, citizens and military forces in the region.
Saturday evening, French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian slammed Australia and the U.S. on TV channel France 2.
“There has been a lie, there has been duplicity, there has been a major breach of trust, there has been contempt,” he said, alluding to media reports that the countries had hidden months of negotiations from France.
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