Paris expects concrete actions by the end of October to overcome the Aukus pact crisis

Translate reassuring words as quickly as possible into tangible commitments: this is the difficulty of the discussions between France and the United States in order to hope to overcome the breach of confidence caused by the announcement, three weeks ago, of the Aukus defense pact. traded in the greatest secrecy by Washington, Canberra and London. Tuesday, October 5, Emmanuel Macron wanted to be very clear on this subject by receiving Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State. The French president is awaiting concrete decisions before seeing Joe Biden, on the sidelines of the G20 summit, at the end of October, in Italy.

The meeting at the Elysee Palace had not been announced in advance. Originally, Mr. Blinken was only to meet the diplomatic adviser to the Head of State, Emmanuel Bonne. The tête-à-tête with Mr. Macron lasted more than an hour. A White House representative then spoke about “Very productive discussion” while considering that“A great and difficult job remains to be done” to restore confidence and develop cooperation with France. “It is a crisis called to last, from which we can only get out with actions”, insists a source close to the matter. A warning addressed to those who, in the United States as in Europe, suggest in Paris to turn the page, after the resounding start of the affair, on September 15, and the cancellation by Canberra of the purchase of twelve French conventional submarines.

Read also Submarines: Australia breaks the “contract of the century” with France, diplomatic crisis between Paris and Washington

Flaw recognition

Earlier, Mr. Blinken had spoken with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian. Discussions qualified as “Substantial” in the entourage of the latter. However, unlike Mr. Blinken’s previous visit to the Quai d’Orsay at the end of June, no press conference was organized after their meeting: “The two ministers will speak when they have things to announce”, we say on the French side, as if to maintain the pressure.

The objective is to concretize the main principles approved by Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron during their remote conversation on September 22, to try to appease a quarrel as deep as sudden. “Americans don’t just hug”, we believe in Paris, where we note that Mr. Blinken has recognized flaws in the management of the Aukus project. Three subjects are on the table: the way in which the United States can support European defense, in addition to NATO, the role devolved to Europe, and to France in particular, in the Indo-Pacific zone and the strengthening of American support for the fight against terrorism in the Sahel. The French are still careful not to specify in public their concrete requirements concerning the three major chapter heads identified by MM. Biden and Macron.

You have 32.35% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.