French ambassador to return to DC after Biden, Macron speak


The French ambassador to the United States will return to Washington, D.C., next week after President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke Wednesday in the aftermath of a U.S. submarine deal with Australia that irked leaders in France.

Biden and Macron spoke on the phone at Biden's request to discuss the fallout of the trilateral deal the U.S. announced with Australia and the United Kingdom.

"The two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners. President Biden conveyed his ongoing commitment in that regard," the White House said in a readout of the call.

The two men will meet in Europe at the end of October, and Macron said the French ambassador would return to Washington next week, the White House said. It was not immediately clear if the two men would meet at the Group of 20 summit in Italy next month or at a different time.

"The two leaders have decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring confidence and proposing concrete measures toward common objectives," the White House said.

France erupted in fury last week over the announcement of the new partnership between the U.S., U.K. and Australia, known as AUKUS, which aims to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

France had been seeking its own multibillion-dollar defense agreement with Australia for submarines and was caught flat-footed by the new deal. French officials were given only a few hours notice of the new agreement before it was announced last Wednesday. 

On Friday, France recalled its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia in protest of the deal, an order that came from Macron.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the U.S. has no plans to abandon the AUKUS agreement in light of the complaints from France.

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