'Friendly and normal!' White House defends Joe Biden's Aukus call to Macron despite fury


Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted the tone of the call was nothing to write home about as she set about furiously defending the USA’s snub of Mr Macron from an enormous €31billion submarine deal which will now see America provide Australia with the means to make nuclear submarines to counter Chinese aggression in the Pacific.

Ms Psaki said: “In terms of the tone of the call it was friendly.

“It was one where we are hopeful this is a step in returning to normal…

“In a long and abiding relationship the United States has with France.”

But speaking to France24, correspondent Kathevane Gorjestani stressed how despite what Ms Psaki said, the Press Secretary refused to reveal whether Joe Biden apologised to Mr Macron for the snub.

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The correspondent said: “When she was asked directly whether Joe Biden had actually apologised to Emmanuel Macron to that question she did not answer directly.”

According to Ms Gorjestani Ms Psaki insisted Mr Biden had instead acknowledged the fact that there “could have been more consultation” with France.

She added: “And on that point the statements coming out of the Élysée Palace and the White House were extremely similar, but for one line.

“One line where the American statement said that the situation could have benefited from open consultation with their allies, whereas the French statement said the consultation could have avoided the situation altogether.”

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The comments come as France continues to rage after Australia tore up the massive €31 billion diesel-powered submarine building contract with the French to pursue the means to produce nuclear submarines with the help of US technology under the new Aukus pact.

It is one of the countries’ biggest defence partnerships in decades and intends to counter growing Chinese military power analysts say, but China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it “seriously undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies the arms race”.

The scrapping of the deal is a major blow to big promises made by President Macron who told the French following his election that “France is back” alluding to the role the country will play on the world stage.

It comes as France has recalled its diplomats in the USA and Australia as they simmer with rage at the new deal they’ve been left out of.

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France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info radio the deal snub is “really a stab in the back.”

The new partnership was announced during a joint virtual press conference between US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday.

Last Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the pact would “preserve security and stability around the world” and generate “hundreds of high-skilled jobs”.

He stressed how the relationship with France was “rock solid” despite the brutal snub.



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