Macron and Biden Hold First Phone Call Since AUKUS Submarine Deal Crisis
France was furious about the lack of consultation and had recalled its ambassadors to US and Australia over the deal
US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron had a friendly phone call on Wednesday, 22 September, aimed at resolving the diplomatic crisis that was triggered by Australia buying submarines from the US instead of France.
The White House released a joint statement which said that both leaders "agreed that the situation would have benefited from open consultations."
It also mentioned that "a process of in-depth consultations" in order to ensure trust between the two nations shall be started and that President Macron has decided to send the French Ambassador back to Washington next week.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki also said that President Biden "acknowledged that there could have been greater consultation," Reuters reported.
Last week, the French accused the US of betraying their trust when Australia cancelled a $40 billion contract for buying conventional submarines from France.
Instead, Australia went on to buy nuclear powered submarines from the US as part of a trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK, and the US in what came to be known as AUKUS.
Reuters also added that AUKUS is widely being perceived as a pact that has been engineered to curtail China's influence in the Pacific.
Biden, however, as per the White House statement, reiterated the indispensability of French cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
He is scheduled to meet Macron in Europe by the end of October in order to "maintain momentum" in the consultation and confidence-building process between the US and France.
(With inputs from Reuters and The White House)
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