Biden and Macron to meet within hours over sub snub ‘crisis of trust’

French President Emmanuel Macron expects “clarifications and clear commitments” from President Joe Biden in a call to be held later on Wednesday (early Thursday AEST) to address the submarines’ dispute, his office says.

He expects “clarifications on the American choice to keep a European ally away from key exchanges on an Indo-Pacific cooperation,” the statement said.

French President Emmanuel Macron will speak with US President Joe Biden on Wednesday.Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool Photo via AP) (AP)
The Indo-Pacific AUKUS defence deal between the US, Australia and Britain was announced last week by Biden, with France being formally informed only a few hours beforehand, according to French diplomats.

The pact will see Australia cancel a multibillion-dollar contract to buy diesel-electric French submarines and acquire US nuclear-powered vessels instead.

France wants an acknowledgment that talks that “should have been held” between allies before the deal was made “did not happen” and that it is raising “a matter of trust about which we need to draw together all the consequences,” according to Mr Macron’s office.

Paris is calling for “acts, not words only,” including on “the full recognition by our American ally of the need to strengthen the European sovereignty and the importance for Europeans to greater involvement in their defense and security,” Mr Macron’s office said.

France also wants the “common commitment in the fight against terrorism” to be reaffirmed.

US declares Australia its closest ally
Mr Morrison met with Mr Biden on Tuesday. (9News)

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said Mr Macron raised the issue during a weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The call with Mr Biden aims to bring “clarifications” on “the conditions of the American re-commitment in a relationship between Allies,” Mr Attal said.

France’s European Union partners agreed on Tuesday to put the dispute at the top of bloc’s political agenda, including at an EU summit next month.

The French presidency categorically denied a report by Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper published on Wednesday saying Mr Macron could offer the country’s permanent seat at the UN Security Council to the European Union if the bloc backs his plans on EU defence.

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