The US Secretary of State, who traveled to Paris to preside over a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), made these statements after meeting today with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and with French President Emmanuel Macron found the latter to be unforeseen. In both meetings secrecy prevailed and there were no statements to the press.
The fact that Macron received a senior, lower-ranking official signals the French government’s attempt to restore the good level of relations with Washington.
Blinken tried to minimize the open crisis when in mid-September Australia unexpectedly decided to cancel a multi-million dollar contract to acquire 12 conventional submarines from France for the benefit of the United States and the United Kingdom , which offer nuclear propulsion technology.
he secretary of state explained that today’s meetings respond to what was agreed by Macron and the president of the United States, Joe Biden, last September to smooth things over.
“I cannot speak for President Macron, but for our part we believe that there is a great opportunity within the framework established by the two presidents to deepen cooperation and coordination ,” Blinken said.
Macron had a “long” and “face-to-face” conversation with Blinken, reported the Elysee, which for now has not provided details of the content. This meeting between France and the United States implied a new step towards the normalization of their bilateral relationship.
A source from the Elysee explained that the objective of the meetings is to “study the ways to recover the bilateral relationship” after France called its ambassador in Washington for consultations for a few days, “and to contribute to restoring confidence between France and the United States. United”.
Both countries, he added, “continue their coordination work on matters of common interest, such as EU-NATO cooperation, the Sahel or the Indo-Pacific region.”
According to the US side, Blinken and Macron discussed the next steps in the bilateral relationship and areas of joint cooperation and the next meeting between the presidents of both countries, State Department spokesman Ned Price explained in a statement.
Blinken’s meetings with Le Drian and Bonne also dealt with the renewal of the relationship, but also addressed more specific issues in the stability of Afghanistan, the fight against jihadism in the Sahel , or in the Indo-Pacific region, added Price.
The call for consultations by the French ambassadors in the United States and Australia, an unprecedented measure in Paris’s relationship with those two countries, came two days later after both and the United Kingdom announced on September 15 a security alliance in the Indo-Pacific region.
France was considered marginalized by the creation of that alliance, since it has numerous islands that grant it wide territorial waters both in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific, so it is very interested in the protection of stability and security in the region.
Minister Le Drian then described this movement as a “stab in the back”.The situation was redirected with the telephone conversation that Macron had on September 22 with the US president, Joe Biden, in which it was agreed to take steps to reduce tension and that both will meet at the end of October in Europe.
The blow for Paris was even greater because, having repeatedly clashed in numerous areas (such as climate change or global taxation) with the previous US administration of Donald Trump, it expected a fundamental change with the arrival of Biden to the White House, on all with the appointment as secretary of state of someone like Blinken , a good connoisseur of France and who speaks perfect French.
A French diplomatic source assured that the Americans take their ally’s anger seriously and do not limit themselves to “hug therapy.””This crisis puts at stake the interests of all Europeans on the functioning of our alliances and the commitment of Europeans in the Indo-Pacific,” according to a French diplomatic source.