New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
Macron to talk to Biden amid crisis over submarines
French President Emmanuel Macron will speak in the coming days with President Joe Biden in their first contact since a major diplomatic crisis erupted between France and the United States over a submarine deal with Australia, an official said Sunday.
The phone call is at the request of Biden, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, adding that there was “shock” and “anger” at first in France over news of the deal. But now it’s time to try to move forward, he said.
What the French now call a “grave crisis” erupted over the sudden, surprise end to a 2016 contract worth at least $66 billion between France and Australia to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines. Instead, Australia signed on with the United States and Britain for eight nuclearpowered submarines. France insists it was not informed of the deal in advance.
France recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia in a sign of the seriousness of the crisis.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met Sunday with the two ambassadors to discuss “the strategic consequences of the current crisis,” the ministry said without elaborating.