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France: Restoring Confidence with US Will Require Time

France: Restoring Confidence with US Will Require Time

Thursday, 23 September, 2021 - 15:45
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, US September 23, 2021. Reuters

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday it would take "time and actions" to restore confidence in relations after a crisis triggered by Australia's cancellation of a submarine contract with Paris.

France was incensed by Australia's decision last week to opt instead for a deal with the United States and Britain to purchase nuclear-powered submarines, and it recalled its ambassadors to Washington and Canberra for consultations.

The meeting of Blinken and Le Drian came after US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone on Wednesday and agreed to launch in-depth consultations to rebuild trust between the two NATO allies. They also agreed to meet in Europe at the end of October.

The call lasted 30 minutes and was friendly, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Macron will also send France's ambassador to the United States back to Washington next week "to start intensive work with senior US officials," the White House said in a statement.

Le Drian and Blinken, meeting at the United Nations in New York on Thursday, discussed "the terms and main issues" to be addressed during the consultations between Washington and Paris, a French foreign ministry statement said.

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