Macron and Biden to talk this week following diplomatic row
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.
The latest: "President Biden very much values our alliance with France, and looks forward to speaking with President Macron and finding a way forward," a White House official told Axios.
Why it matters: Attal characterized the diplomatic crisis as "strategic" rather than commercial and noted that the phone call comes at Biden's request.
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."