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biden: Post AUKUS, Biden dials French President Macron; the two leaders to meet in October – World News


WASHINGTON: United States President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday agreed that the “open consultations” among allies on matters of strategic interest to France would have helped in having a better situation, days after a security alliance between Australia, UK and America left Paris fuming.
On September 15, Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a trilateral security alliance AUKUS under which Australia would get a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
In the process, Australia threw out the talks it was having about submarines from France.
The move angered France, an European ally of the US, which said it had been “stabbed in the back” and has publicly expressed its outrage at the AUKUS alliance. It recalled its ambassador to the US and Australia.
But in Washington, officials have defended multi-billion defence deal to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
The White House said Biden had requested for the call. Macron and Biden spoke on September 22, at the request of the latter, in order to discuss the implications of the announcement on September 15, said a joint statement issued after the call.
“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,” it said. Biden and Macron 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 joint statement said.
“They will meet in Europe at the end of October in order to reach shared understandings and maintain momentum in this process. President Emmanuel Macron has decided that the French Ambassador will return to Washington next week. He will then start intensive work with senior US officials,” said the statement.
During the call, Biden reaffirmed the strategic importance of French and European engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, including in the framework of the European Union’s recently published strategy for the Indo-Pacific.
The US also recognises the importance of a stronger and more capable European defence, that contributes positively to transatlantic and global security and is complementary to NATO, it said.
“In the framework of their joint fight against terrorism, the United States commits to reinforcing its support to counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel conducted by European states,” said the joint statement.


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