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Macron and Biden to talk this week following diplomatic row




  • In Politics
  • 2021-09-19 16:41:18Z
  • By Axios
 

President Biden will speak with French President Emmanuel Macron "in the next few days" amid the ongoing diplomatic row surrounding a scrapped submarine order, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told French TV station BFMTV.

Why it matters: Attal characterized the diplomatic crisis as "strategic" rather than commercial and noted that the phone call comes at Biden's request.

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The big picture: Senior French officials have accused the United States of a "stab in the back," following the announcement of a trilateral security pact between the U.S., U.K. and Australia to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines.

  • French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described it as a "crisis" that could threaten existing Western alliances.

  • On Friday, France took the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia.

What they're saying: "What's at stake in this case, in this crisis, is a strategic issue before being a commercial one," Attal said.

  • "The issue at stake here is the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, where part of our future and our relations with China are at stake. France is a country in the Indo-Pacific zone," Attal said, citing France's territories, French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

  • "It is also an issue for Europe, in a context of tensions with China and the United States. We have to assert a strategic autonomy in the area and that is what it is going to be about," he said.

  • "That is what we are going to talk about. That is what we will work on and move forward in the weeks and months to come."

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