France’s ambassador to the United States will return to Washington, D.C., after having beenwith France in order to buy submarines with U.S. and British technology instead.
The news of Ambassador Philippe Étienne’s return was announced in a joint statement following a call between President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday, which took place at Mr. Biden’s request. Australia’s submarine deal with the U.S. and U.K. took France by surprise and outraged French officials,.
“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 joint statement reads.
Étienne, will return to Washington next week.
The deal for the U.S. to build nuclear-powered submarines for Australia and the United Kingdom abruptly ended a $66 billion contract the French had signed with Australia in 2016 to build 12 diesel-electric submarines. The submarines are supposed to help provide security in the Indo-Pacific region. Australia decided instead to purchase more advanced, nuclear-powered submarines.
The diplomatic rift between the U.S. and her oldest ally came just days before Mr. Biden’s first address as presidentin New York, where he insisted the U.S. is back and ready to lead on the international stage.
On Monday, the Biden administration also announced it istravelers from, among other places, the European Union, although the White House insisted that timing had to do with science, not politics.