United States President Joe Biden is facing increasing pressure and is looking to get a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron after a series of controversial issues in an attempt to fix the relationship between the U.S. and France.
The two officials have not spoken to each other since the widespread criticism of Biden's announcement that the U.S. was forming a new defense alliance with Australia and the United Kingdom. French leaders quickly blasted the Democratic leader's decision which will have the U.S. government sharing nuclear submarine technology with Australia, which resulted in the country dropping a submarine contract with France worth $66 billion.
Biden To Discuss With French President
On Sunday, U.S. officials conceded that they were surprised with the gravity of French leaders' reaction to the deal. The officials promptly recalled the French ambassador from Washington last week. American politicians initially attributed the reactions to internal French politics amid Macron's goal to get reelected. However, they said that they were still working on fixing the relationship between the two nations to avoid further strife, The Washington Post reported.
The French spokesperson said that Macron will have a phone call with Biden in the following days as the diplomatic ties between the two countries continue to be threatened. Gabriel Attal said, "President Biden asked to speak to the President of the Republic and there will be a telephone discussion in the next few days between President Macron and President Biden."
The official said the French government would be looking to clarify the cancellation of its lucrative submarine deal with Australia. The contract was struck in 2016 and its cancellation has fueled anger among French politicians due to not being consulted by their allies. However, the Australian government said that it has been making the issue clear for several months, Reuters reported.
French Contract With Australia
On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met with two ambassadors to discuss the strategic consequences of the loss of the massive submarine deal with Australia. "What's at play in this affair, this crisis, are strategic issues before being commercial issues," Attal said. The official added that the main issue now is the balance of power and the uncertainty of France's future and its relations with China.
The new U.S. deal shows how the American federal government is leaning towards the Indo-Pacific region as an increasingly strategic region with China's continued bolstering of its defenses in the area. However, France feels that the agreement undermined the country's authority in the region that it has long since had a strong presence in for several years.
Attal said France was a country that belonged to the Indo-Pacific, citing the nation's territory of New Caledonia, the French citizens living in the region, and the French military troops deployed in several bases in the area. Macron will be looking to demand explanations from Biden on what resulted in the "major rupture in confidence", Attal said. Le Drian considered the loss of the contract as "duplicity, disdain, and lies" in a statement on Friday night, the Associated Press reported.