French Defense Minister Florence Parly said that the submarine issue reflected what she called "Washington's rude behavior." The French presidency said that President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the latter's request, while the French Trade Minister refused to meet with his Australian counterpart next month. Last week, Australia canceled a huge deal to buy French submarines.
Secretary Parly said that although the phone call between US Presidents Biden and French President Macron was a fruitful and a step forward, "this does not hide the fact that the behavior of the United States has been very brutal."
The French minister's statement comes in light of a severe crisis in relations between France on the one hand, and the United States and Australia on the other.
This is after Australia canceled a huge deal to buy French submarines and compensate them with American ones, as part of a tripartite military alliance between Washington, Canberra and London.
Message to Europe
The French Defense Minister stressed the importance of Europe being self-reliant and defending its interests in the world, adding that the EU countries have a "unique opportunity to prove themselves as a strategic force."
The US President had made a call with President Macron - the day before yesterday, Wednesday - during which they decided to open in-depth consultations to ensure confidence and the return of the French ambassador to Washington next week.
President Macron (center) talks to his American counterpart before the start of the NATO summit, and to his right is the British Prime Minister (Reuters - Archive)
In a related context, the French presidency announced that Macron spoke by phone today with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at his request, and the Elysee Palace statement added that Johnson expressed to Macron his desire for better cooperation between London and Paris, and to restore cooperation between the two countries.
The statement pointed out that the talks focused on cooperation in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and issues of combating terrorism and climate change.
The call between Johnson and Macron came just days after the former demanded that France control its emotions and stop improperly treating allies in the United States and Australia over a row over a three-way deal to build nuclear submarines that led to the collapse of a separate French contract with Australia worth $40 billion.
Macron's office added that the president replied to Johnson that he would wait for his proposals on the matter.
This month, France recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia due to the submarine crisis, and Paris canceled a meeting scheduled for this week between Defense Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart Ben Wallace due to the same crisis.
On the other hand, an official in the office of French Trade Minister Frank Riester said on Friday that he had rejected an offer from his Australian counterpart Dan Tien to meet in Paris next month.
The Australian Trade Minister told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last Monday that he "very much would like" to meet Riester when he visits Paris in October for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development meeting.
Australian Prime Minister Scone Morrison said - on Wednesday - that his attempts to make a phone call with the French president had failed.Keywords: