France and the United States have made steps to resolve a dispute that began last week with the unveiling of the Aukus defense deal between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
The agreement cost France $37 billion (£27 billion) to develop submarines for Australia.
Paris claimed to have only learned about the incident a few hours before the public disclosure.
The presidents of the United States and France have now released a joint statement suggesting that open discussions amongst allies would have helped the situation.
On Wednesday, Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron had a half-hour phone conversation. At the end of next month, they will also meet in Europe.
Aukus, which was announced last week, is largely regarded as an attempt to challenge China’s dominance in the disputed South China Sea.
Analysts believe it is the most important security agreement between the three countries since World War II.
However, French dissatisfaction with the accord was apparent; the French foreign minister referred to it as a “stab in the back.”
Mr Macron had ordered the recall of the French ambassadors to Washington and Canberra, an unusual move among allies.
The ambassador to Washington, on the other hand, will now return to his post. No word on whether the ambassador in Canberra would follow suit.
The importance of French and European participation in the Asia-Pacific area was emphasized by President Biden.
As a complement to the trans-Atlantic Nato alliance, the statement underscored US acceptance of the necessity of greater European defense, which France has been driving for years.
According to a US official, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian are set to meet on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
US And France Make Important Steps Forward
The Americans delivered a classic “non-apology apology”: they apologized for the method (lack of consultation), but not for the policy itself (Aukus). But, in an attempt to indicate that all is OK, President Biden smiled while on the phone with President Macron.
When it comes to readouts, they may be fairly bland, but this one had a lot of significance.
For starters, it was a joint statement, when normally each side issues one, indicating that both leaders were attempting to present a unified front following their “pleasant 30-minute call.” The fact that President Biden initiated the contact was made obvious from the outset, which France may have intended to make clear.
Then there’s this: “The two presidents agreed that open talks would have been beneficial to the situation” – isn’t that something France wanted in there?
But America had its voice as well; Biden did not change his message that European countries must invest more to the continent’s defense.
It was then followed by a sharp reminder of the US providing further counter-terrorism assistance in the Sahel, where the French have a significant investment.
In summary, it was a well-crafted statement that allowed both parties to get their views through and move on. A cheerful phone call, on the other hand, is one thing. What happens when the two presidents meet in person in Europe next month?
President Macron is up for re-election next year, which is worth noting. He needed to keep his cool with President Biden on the domestic front, but he also needed to find a way out. Today’s call brings it to you.