Meeting in Rome: Biden and Macron defuse submarine dispute

As of: 10/29/2021 8:38 pm

The NATO partners USA and France want to settle their recent dispute over submarines. US President Biden admitted “awkward” approach at meetings with President Macron. Both nuclear powers want to work even more closely together in the future.

It wasn’t an excuse – but almost. US President Joe Biden has made a conciliatory note in the submarine dispute with France. At a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron in Rome, he admitted that the US had behaved awkwardly in the affair. “It wasn’t done very gallantly,” he said

The way in which a new security alliance with Australia had been engineered was “clumsy”. At the time, he had the impression that Paris had been informed long before the pact was announced, Biden said. France is an “extremely, extremely valued partner,” emphasized the US President in the Villa Bonaparte. The country shares the “same values” as the USA.

“Look into the future”

Macron also seemed to be trying hard to leave the argument behind. You have to make sure that such diplomatic resentment does not happen again, he said. “We have clarified what we had to clarify. Now it is a matter of looking into the future.” The cooperation must become stronger.

Europe is also ready to cooperate with the US on the security of the Indo-Pacific. The French President said he had spoken to Biden about the strategy of the Europeans in the region.

56 billion deal burst

The submarine dispute had severely strained relations between the historical allies. The USA, Great Britain and Australia announced an Indo-Pacific alliance called AUKUS in mid-September. In this context, Australia is to have access to US technology for the construction and operation of nuclear submarines. The Australian government then broke a submarine deal with France. The French actually wanted to deliver diesel-powered submarines for 56 billion euros.

This led to angry reactions in Paris and raised doubts about the reliability of the transatlantic partnership. Paris meanwhile withdrew its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused the allies of “stabbing Paris in the back”. In the dispute, the EU leaders and Germany also stood behind France.

First phone calls

The US immediately tried to smooth things over. Biden and Macron have phoned twice in the past few weeks. During their first phone call, they agreed, among other things, “in-depth consultations” and a meeting in Europe for the end of October. This took place before the start of the G20 summit in Rome.

Macron and Biden will meet again in Rome. On Saturday, both statesmen want to consult with Germany and Great Britain about resuming nuclear negotiations with Iran.

With information from Torsten Teichmann, ARD-Studio Washington, currently Rome

US President Biden reaches agreement with President Macron

Torben Teichmann, ARD Washington, October 29, 2021 7:44 p.m.

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