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World Blinken, Macron Explore Making Amends in Meeting After France, U.S. Submarine Spat

11:15  06 october  2021
11:15  06 october  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

France, Greece sign defense deal; Athens to buy 3 warships

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After conflict erupted last month with the September 15 announcement of a three-way agreement between Australia, Britain and the U.S. known as AUKUS, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Paris on Tuesday to discuss ways to repair the rift, the Associated Press reported.

Macron and Blinken agreed to use the AUKUS spat as an opportunity to “deepen and strengthen coordination. © Patrick Semansky/AP Photo Macron and Blinken agreed to use the AUKUS spat as an opportunity to “deepen and strengthen coordination." US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, meets with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris.

The AUKUS deal excluded France, which responded angrily to the announcement that canceled a multibillion-dollar submarine contract it had with Australia and recalled their ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia.

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U.S. officials acknowledge that the AUKUS deal could've benefited from coordination with France and other EU members, and has made motions to regain France's trust.

Prior to the meeting, the French ambassador returned, and the meeting today, while private, was a step forward in re-establishing relations. A State Department official said Macron and Blinken agreed to use it as an opportunity to "deepen and strengthen coordination" and called the meeting "very productive."

The official said Macron and Blinked discussed possible joint projects between France and the U.S. that could be announced when Macron and President Joe Biden meet later this month in Europe. Macron and Biden agreed to try to repair the damage in a September 22 phone call.

Joe Biden Is Losing Powerful Friends in Europe

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For more reporting by the Associated Press, see below.

The official didn't elaborate on what those projects might be but said they would likely involve the Indo-Pacific and Western efforts to blunt China's growing there and elsewhere, NATO and other trans-Atlantic objectives involving the European Union, and counterterrorism cooperation in Africa's Sahel region.

A French official, speaking under customary anonymity, said the "at length, face-to-face meeting" came immediately after Blinken had seen Macron's national security adviser, Emmanuel Bonne. Bonne, the official said, saw Blinken "in order to study the ways of reengaging the relationship following the recall of the French ambassador, and to help restore confidence between France and the United States."

French officials called it "a stab in the back" by allies and expressed disappointment that it had happened after Biden had proclaimed "America is back" and pledged to restore and value trans-Atlantic relations that had soured during the Trump administration.

US tries to make nice with France after Australia sub snub

  US tries to make nice with France after Australia sub snub WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit France next week as the Biden administration tries to smooth over hurt feelings and potentially more lasting damage caused by its exclusion of America’s oldest ally from a new Indo-Pacific security initiative, the State Department said Friday. The department said Blinken will visit Paris starting Monday for an international economic conference but highlighted that he will also meet with French officials to discuss the rupture in relations. The administration has been scrambling to mend fences with France and the European Union more broadly since the Sept. 15 announcement of the Australia-U.S.

The French have said repeatedly it will take much time and work to overcome the rift and that the incident underscores the need for Europe to develop its own security and defense plans as well as adopting a European strategy to counter growing challenges from China.

Blinken is in the French capital for a two-day international economic conference that has been overshadowed by the AUKUS controversy that erupted with the announcement of the project. Blinken's first meeting in Paris was with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, whom he counts as a personal friend.

Ahead of his visit, his second to France as secretary of state but first since the rupture, Blinken met Friday with French Ambassador Philippe Etienne on his return to Washington after having been recalled to Paris by Macron.

Blinken, a fluent French speaker who grew up and went to high school in Paris, has expressed disappointment that the France has reacted so harshly to AUKUS. He and others have suggested some degree of French anger is related to domestic French politics and the shifting dynamics within the EU, which will soon see Angela Merkel depart as the leader of Germany after 16 years in power.

Blinken, in Paris, seeking to heal AUKUS rift with France

  Blinken, in Paris, seeking to heal AUKUS rift with France PARIS (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Paris as the Biden administration seeks to repair damage to relations caused by excluding America’s oldest ally from a new Indo-Pacific security initiative. Blinken is meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and President Emmanuel Macron’s national security adviser on Tuesday to try to restore trust between the countries, particularly as it relates to countering growing challenges from China. The Biden administration has acknowledged that last month's announcement of a three-way Indo-Pacific agreement between Australia, Britain and the U.S. known as AUKUS was handled poorly.

The ostensible reason for Blinken's trip to France, which had been planned well before the AUKUS ruckus, is to co-chair a ministerial meeting of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Tuesday and Wednesday about climate change and security.

Former Secretary of State and current U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is also attending the OECD talks, which are taking place just weeks before the next U.N.-backed international conference on climate, in Glasgow, Scotland.

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