Receive free updates of US foreign policy
We will send you a myFT Daily Digest e-mail containing the latest news on US foreign policy every morning.
Top US diplomat Antony Blinken is visiting Paris next week as part of Washington’s efforts to renew relations with France after being excluded from a new strategic treaty and losing a submarine deal with Australia.
The Biden administration tries deflate France’s wrath after the US, UK and Australia – known as Aukus – announced a new agreement for nuclear submarines last month Emmanuel Macron on remember his country’s ambassadors to Washington and Canberra last month.
Karen Donfried, the newly appointed Assistant Secretary to the US State Department for European and Eurasian Affairs, said next week’s meetings in Paris ‘are part of our commitment to a process of in-depth consultation going forward’.
‘We realize that it will take time and effort, and that it does not just have to be demonstrated in words. she told reporters before the visit.
“I do not think there is a silver bullet in terms of how we work to further deepen our relationship with the French,” she said, adding that a better and more open consultation between allies is needed.
French officials insist they were not only furious about the loss of the agreement to supply submarines to Australia, but also about the way France was in the dark over discussions on the new treaty. The deal damaged confidence among NATO allies at a time when the US was trying to put together a network of alliances to counter China.
Senior U.S. officials, including Blinken, did not respond quickly enough to requests from senior French officials to speak before the September 15 agreement was announced, according to officials briefed on the diplomatic efforts.
Since the diplomatic outburst, US President Joe Biden has led efforts to appease France’s anger. He spoke directly to Macron a week after the September 15 announcement, while Blinken also met his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
France’s ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne, returned to his post in Washington this week and met with US security adviser Jake Sullivan in the White House on Thursday to “begin a process of in-depth consultations on a range of strategic issues”. according to a spokesman for the National Security Council.
Biden and Macron will also meet in person in Europe at the end of October.
Blinken, who will include an extensive U.S. delegation to Paris, including representatives on climate, trade, economy and energy, will also discuss how the US “will work with friends to increase the ambition of the US-EU relationship” . Donfried.
Blinken is expected to discuss US commitments to French relations across the Indo-Pacific region, counter-terrorism in the Sahel, the climate crisis, economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and other ways to work with US allies and partners “global challenges and opportunities”.