French Ambassador to the United States Philippe Etienne said he ASKed to be seen by the White House after the AUKUS submarine deal was concluded “but it was a bit late”: Macron to meet with Biden this week to address ‘major breach of trust’
- France requested the phone call between the two leaders for “clarifications”
- France recalled its ambassador to the United States on Friday, exacerbating the dispute
- Ambassador Philippe Etienne says France “absolutely” has not been informed
- Biden to meet British Prime Minister Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Morrison in New York
- Bilateral meetings come as the United Nations General Assembly meets
- Biden and French President Macron set to speak by phone
The French ambassador to the United States continues to fret over being left in the dark about a new security deal between the United States, Britain and Australia – claiming on Monday after being reminded Paris that France “absolutely” had not been informed in advance.
“As soon as we learned Wednesday morning (of the agreement), I asked to be seen, I was seen,” Ambassador Philippe Etienne told French radio RTL from Paris on Monday.
But, he added, “it was a bit late.
Speaking from Paris amid France’s dramatic slap to its long-time diplomatic ally, the United States, Etienne complained: “We have not been made aware of the new course at all.”
French President Emmanuel Macron recalled France’s ambassador to the United States after being caught off guard on a new security deal between the United States, Australia and Britain
The ongoing diplomatic feud will be in the background as President Joe Biden flies to New York on Monday for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
French President Emmanuel Macron is not expected to appear, and in another sign of diplomatic spite, he will not appear by video. Instead, he “ordered” his foreign minister, Jean-Yves LeDrian, to appear in his place, The New York Times reported.
And in another public demonstration of America’s posture, the public calendar released by the White House on Monday showed bilateral meetings with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
No bilateral meeting of this type is recorded with the French.
Biden and Macron are expected to speak by phone in an effort to improve relations. Biden returns to Washington from Delaware on Monday morning, then flies to New York.
“President Biden has asked to speak to the President of the Republic and there will be a telephone discussion in the coming days between President Macron and President Biden,” Macron spokesman Gabriel Attal told the French channel BFM TV.
President Joe Biden is due to meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the UN on Tuesday
France was furious after learning of the new deal between the US, Australia and the UK
Macron wants an explanation from Biden on what caused a “major breach of confidence” after France was caught off guard by the arrangement.
“There was a moment of shock, of anger … Now we have to move on” he said.
The French were furious not only at being excluded from the talks, but also by the loss of a $ 90 billion contract to build a fleet of diesel-electric submarines for Australia. Instead, the Australians will rely on American and British nuclear technology.
Etienne said his departure from Washington marked the “gravity of the situation”.
But French and Australian officials said on Monday that the row would not derail Australia’s negotiations with the EU on a free trade deal.
France also recalled its ambassador to Canberra amid the dispute.
State Department official Erica Barks-Ruggles said in a phone call about UN meetings on Monday that France was an “extremely valuable ally” and that the United States would have the opportunity to ” interact with France when the five members of the Security Council meet.
She said Biden’s schedule “will remain dynamic as always”, but has had no further discussions with the French to announce.