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.

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