Macron, Biden to speak amid diplomatic row

NEW YORK — French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden will speak later Wednesday, according to an Elysée official.

“The president will speak in the coming hours with the president of the United States. This call is taking place at the request of the latter,” the official said.

The White House first made a request for a call with Macron on Sunday in an effort to smooth over a growing diplomatic crisis over a new trilateral security partnership between the U.S., Australia and the U.K. — dubbed “AUKUS.”

France was blindsided by the announcement last Wednesday, having been kept in the dark about it by all involved. The partnership also claimed a multibillion-euro French submarine contract with Australia. On Friday, France called back its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia in protest.

Macron expects Biden to “recognize that the discussions and consultations that should have taken place did not and that this raises questions of trust,” the official said.

Macron wants to launch a “solid process over time and at a high level to create the conditions to restore trust through actions and concrete measures, not just words,” the official added.

What France wants from the U.S. at this stage is to recognize “the strategic importance of French and European engagement in the Indo-Pacific,” having felt that AUKUS was bigfooting them out of the region.

France also wants the U.S. to recognize “the necessity of reinforcing European sovereignty and the importance of more European commitment to their own defense and security,” the same official said, citing a massively important issue for Macron who has been pushing for more European strategic autonomy in the face of opposition from the U.S. and some European partners.

Finally, France wants the U.S. to recognize the two countries’ “common commitment in the fight against terrorism.” 

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