Diplomacy at work to try to unblock the submarine crisis, but the tension between Paris and Washington remains high. After the phone call between Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron, the foreign ministers of the United States and France met in a first face to face on the sidelines of the UN Assembly, without however being able to heal the wound between the two shores of the Atlantic.
The conversation between the two presidents has in fact eased the tension without making it disappear. And the head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian said it bluntly to the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken: the phone call was a “step forward”, but the exit from the crisis will require “time” and “actions. concrete “. In essence, the goal of “restoring confidence” severely shaken by the agreement with Great Britain and Australia – which effectively excluded France from the Indo-Pacific area and caused Paris to lose the “contract of the century” for the supply of submarines to Canberra – is still a long way off.
And as a demonstration of how much relations are still strained, the fact that the Quai d’Orsay communiqué with the words of Le Drian in Blinken was followed by a simple tweet from the US Secretary of State: “We talked about our bilateral relations, the efforts underway in Afghanistan and shared objectives in the Sahel “, wrote the number one in American diplomacy without even mentioning the current crisis, known as the submarine crisis, but which is above all a political crisis that also affects the European Union. The two, according to Paris, in any case “evoked the methods and main themes” of the “in-depth consultations” announced by Macron and Biden and to maintain “close contact” for this purpose.
But if in the face of Macron’s wrath, at the test of the polls in just over six months, Biden publicly offered a shy mezzo mea culpa, behind the scenes he would not have hidden the annoyance over the French reaction with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. During their bilateral meeting at the White House, the two leaders, in addition to excluding the slightest rethinking on the Aukus operation, would have said – reports the Daily Telegraph – “amazed” by the tones of Macron and his men. A sign of irritation that, in spite of the attempts of mending initiated by Washington and which also include the presence of John Kerry at a summit on green finance organized by Macron on October 4, could weigh on future relations within NATO.
The Washington agreement with Great Britain and Australia is a burning wound for France, and Macron made it clear in the first few days, allowing Le Drian to use a language that had very little of a diplomat. American actions have been called “despicable”, “lies” and “untruths” by the French foreign minister, who went so far as to say that the “Biden method resembles the Trump method, but without the tweets”. Harsh criticism against the American president who, since his election campaign, has presented himself to the Americans and the world as the anti-Trump par excellence.
But the ‘veteran’ Biden has a long memory and remembers well the tensions with Paris over Iraq in 2003 and his irritation at the French opposition to the war. Meanwhile, the EU, immediately in solidarity with France and mostly “disappointed” by the American attitude, looks to the evolution of the situation saying that it is “happy to see positive developments in relations between the EU and the US”, said the spokesman for the EU Commission, Eric Mamer, after the confrontation between Biden and Macron and their expected face to face in October in Europe. However, Brussels has not yet dissolved its reservations on the EU-US council on trade and technology, scheduled for 29 September but not yet confirmed by the Europeans. (HANDLE).
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