WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden was due to speak to French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday as the United States seeks to stem the effects of French anger over a deal to sell nuclear submarines to Australia, according to a French official.
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Macron was expecting “clarifications and clear commitments” from Biden in the call requested by the White House.
“We expect from our allies that the exchanges and consultations that should have been held have not taken place, and that raises the question of confidence,” said Attal on Wednesday. “Therefore, from now on it is up to all of us to bear the consequences together.”
The diplomatic dispute between the US and France erupted last week over the deal the Biden government had announced with Australia to provide nuclear submarines to that country as part of a broader security pact that included the UK . But the French had expected to sell submarines to Australia under a 2016 contract.
French officials said they were taken by surprise by the announcement that it was costing them the $ 66 billion deal. France then called back its ambassadors from the USA and Australia and canceled a gala at its embassy in Washington.
The White House declined to comment on the call, but press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that officials from both countries were working on planning one.
Nancy Ing contributed.