- The Washington Times - Monday, September 20, 2021

President Biden is seeking to speak over the phone with French President Emmanuel Macron in the next few days, a senior administration official confirmed Monday.

The two leaders have not spoken since Mr. Biden struck a nuclear submarine deal with Australia and the United Kingdom. That deal cost France a $66 billion deal to provide Australia with conventional, diesel-powered submarines.

Speaking with reporters on a conference call, the official said Mr. Biden wants to communicate his desire to work closely with France in the Indo-Pacific region where China’s military expansion poses a threat.

The official said the U.S. doesn’t share Paris’ view about how the deal with Australia and the United Kingdom developed, but does understand its position.

Mr. Biden is headed to New York where he will address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. However, Mr. Macron is not traveling to New York and will attend virtually, the White House said.

The canceled deal with France has left French government officials furious.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves LeDrian said he was “angry and bitter” about the deal and had strong words for both Australia and the United States.

Mr. Le Drian called the deal “a stab in the back,” saying it isn’t done between allies. He also said the “brutal and unilateral decision” resembled some of the moves by former President Trump, who often angered U.S. allies with his “America First” agenda.

France has recalled its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia. It has also canceled a gala in Washington to celebrate the ties between the two nations. 

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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