Diplomatic effort by US following Australia cancelling $66bn deal with France not matched by London
The US has urged Britain to follow its example and try to repair its relations with Paris in the wake of the row over France’s loss of its submarine contract with Australia, the Guardian reports.
Australia pulled out of the $66bn (£48bn) contract for 12 diesel electric-powered submarines, signed in 2016, to opt instead for nuclear-powered submarines to be developed with America and the UK. The secretive and sudden cancellation of the contract has created a crisis of trust between Paris on the one hand and London, Canberra and Washington on the other.
But senior US diplomats including the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, spent two days in France and Brussels trying to repair relations after French leaders made clear they felt the trio of nations had gone behind their back to form the new alliance.
Blinken met the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Paris on 5 October. The US’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, also met the French foreign policy adviser, Emmanuel Bonne. French president Emmanuel Macron is also due to hold a bilateral face-to-face meeting with Biden at the G20 in Rome.
US diplomats have been disappointed that the British prime minister has not made any parallel effort to patch up relations with Macron. There has been one explanatory phone call while Johnson expressed his frustration with French complaints over the loss of the contract, saying “donnez moi un break”.
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