France: “Time & Action” Needed To Restore US Ties; PM Morrison Says Macron Giving “Cold Shoulder”
Following the tense Wednesday phone call between French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden wherein the two agreed to try and “restore trust” following the severe rift over the AUKUS defense pact which led Paris to pull its ambassador to Washington (which France has since vowed to restore), Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Thursday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Suggesting that prior good relations have been strained if not broken, Le Drian said “time and actions” are needed to “fully” restore ties between the two typically close allies. He underscored:
The way out of a diplomatic crisis between France and the US over a mega submarine deal will “take time and require actions”…
A French government statement indicated the two met at the United Nations in New York to go through the “terms and main issues” to be addressed in upcoming consultations.
The White House summary of the Blinken meeting indicated a big top of discussion was France’s recent charges that the US-Australia submarine pact supplanting a French deal worth at least $66 billion ultimately was a blow to France’s strategic cooperation with allies in the Indo-Pacific to counter China.
In the Wednesday Biden-Macron phone call, the White House said the two leaders and NATO allies have agreed to meet by the end of October in Europe.
“They discussed the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, which the United States welcomes, and the need for close cooperation with France and other European allies and partners active in the region,” the readout said.
While communications are apparently open between Paris and Washington, it’s not so with Canberra:
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he is being given the cold shoulder by Macron after the scrapping of the submarine deal, but vowed to be “patient” in repairing frayed relations.
Speaking in Washington late Wednesday, Morrison said he had tried to reach the French leader but the call had “not yet” happened.
Meanwhile @LeDrien says they want to restore trust (…) that the crisis between FR and US will take time to fix (i.e.after US duped France’s €52 billion “deal of the century”).
130 characters simply aren’t enough to paint over the facts. https://t.co/gLl62rVBZE pic.twitter.com/ePx6cSdL4P
— Beth 🌺 (@m_beth) September 23, 2021
This “cold shoulder” persists as France has even threatened to torpedo EU-Australia trade negotiations, which were scheduled to resume later this fall.
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According to Rabobank’s commentary…
US President Biden and French President Macron are attempting to build bridges burned over AUKUS. The French ambassador is now to return to DC, and Biden to come to Europe for talks next month. However, word on the street is that France, and French agriculture, now have the excuse to kick the planned Australia – EU FTA into the long grass even if the rest of the EU is in favour. The UK has also been sent scuttling from any thoughts of joining the USMCA.
However, geopolitics leads and trade usually follows in today’s atmosphere. Japan’s outgoing PM Suga has also been exceptionally forthright, stating China’s rapidly growing military influence and unilateral changing of the status quo could present a risk to Japan. That’s ahead of a first in-person Quad meeting to be held on Friday at the White House.
Thu, 09/23/2021 – 23:20