In the aftermath of the formation of the AUKUS alliance last week, the French cabinet spokesman Gabriel Attal informed on Wednesday that US President Joe Biden will talk with the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, to clarify details related to the pact.
Attal said at a briefing that a conversation between President Macron and Biden is scheduled for today that should to make clearer Australia’s decision to scrap the $66 billion submarine contract with France in favour of a plan to build submarines at home using American and British nuclear reactor technology.
Presidents Biden and Macron intend to discuss under what conditions Australia’s decision on the submarines was made, with France being formally informed only a few hours beforehand.
The French president also expects clarifications on the American choice to keep a European ally away from key exchanges on the Indo-Pacific cooperation.
Meanwhile Macron, a self-professed champion of multilateralism, has raised questions over how far the spat will erode old friendships and further divide NATO with his absence at the UN General Assembly that begin Tuesday against the backdrop of the submarine crisis.
He has chosen to keep France’s presence at UNGA minimal by sending Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian to speak on behalf of the country in a pre-recorded video message.
Though the Elysée Palace claims Macron’s absence was not related to the submarine fallout, France has already made its fury abundantly clear with the shocking recall of its ambassadors from both Washington and Canberra intended to “formalize” the feeling of betrayal felt by Paris.
France’s partners in the EU, at the same time, agreed Tuesday to put the submarine spat at the top of bloc’s political agenda, including at EU October summit.
Though Daily Telegraph newspaper speculated on Wednesday that Macron could offer France’s permanent seat at the UN Security Council to the EU if the bloc backs his plans on EU defense, the French presidency categorically denied it.