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France to send ambassador back to the US

September 22, 2021

Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden have agreed that "open consultations" could have prevented the diplomatic row between Paris and Washington over a nuclear submarine deal.

Joe Biden und Emmanuel Macron at a G7 summit in June
Biden admitted a lack of communication led to the diplomatic riftImage: Phil Noble/REUTERS

French President Emmanuel Macron will send his ambassador back to the United States next week, Macron's office announced on Wednesday.

The decision was made after President Joe Biden recognized that Washington should have consulted France over a security pact with Australia, Macron's office said.

Upon his return to the United States, the French ambassador will "have intensive work with senior US officials."

France snubbed over nuclear submarines

France recalled its ambassadors last week from Washington and Canberra, after the United States and Britain signed a nuclear submarines deal with Australia.

France blindsided by US-Australian submarine deal: Sonia Phalnikar reports

This led to Australia scrapping a previous $40 billion (€34 billion) French-designed submarine deal.

Paris said it had been blindsided by the arrangement. The French foreign minister described it as "a slap in the face" and compared the Biden administration's move to the "unilateral, brutal and unpredictable" decisions of former US President Donald Trump.

Biden and Macron to meet in October

But tensions appeared to be thawing on Wednesday.

The White House said the two presidents spoke on the phone on Wednesday "to discuss the implications" of the controversial deal.

"The two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefited from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners," a joint Paris and Washington statement said. "President Biden conveyed his ongoing commitment in that regard."

Biden and Macron will meet next month in Europe as the sides try to reset relations following an acrimonious fallout over the submarine contract.

jsi/dj (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)