On Friday, President Joe Biden admitted to President Emmanuel Macron of France that his administration was “clumsy” in its handling of a security pact between the U.K., U.S. and Australia that lost France billions of dollars in nuclear submarine contracts.
In the first meeting between the two leaders since the “Aukus pact” was agreed, Macron said that it was important to “look to the future.”
Biden and Macron met at France’s Vatican embassy in Rome, Villa Bonaparte, and was part of a series of meetings between Biden and other world leaders ahead of numerous international summits.
“I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not going through, honest to God,” Biden said.
“I think what happened — to use an English phrase — what we did was clumsy,” Biden continued, as reported by CNN. “It was not done with a lot of grace. I was under the impression that certain things had happened that had not happened.”
Later, Biden described France as “an extremely valued partner and a power in and of itself.”
“There’s too much we have done together, suffered together, celebrated together and value together for anything to be able to break this up. We’re at one of those inflection points in world history. Things are changing. Pieces of the board are moving,” he added.
When asked if he was satisfied that the relations between France and the United States had been repaired, Macron told reporters, “We clarified together what we had to clarify.”
“Now what’s important is to be sure that such a situation will not be possible for our future,” he added.
Macron also added that “what really matters now is what we will do together in the coming weeks, the coming months, the coming years.”
As The Daily Wire reported at the time, “France accused the Biden administration of stabbing it ‘in the back’ over a defense agreement the U.S. recently made with Britain and Australia.”
“The United States, Britain, and Australia announced a three-way agreement on Wednesday to form a military alliance to help Australia resist Chinese aggression in the region. Under the deal, the U.S. and Britain will aid Australia in building a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to counter the Chinese own submarine fleet,” The Daily Wire reported on September 16. “The deal undercut an agreement Australia made with France in 2016 for France to supply Australia with a fleet of diesel-powered submarines. The new deal sparked furious reactions from French officials as France was left out of the new agreement.”
“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told franceinfo radio, according to Reuters. “I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.”
“It’s a stab in the back. We created a relationship of trust with Australia and that trust has been broken,” Le Drian said.
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