Saturday. 28.01.2023
DIPLOMATIC CRISIS

US Secretary of State Blinken heads to France to calm submarine spat

Last month, the US launched a new security pact with Australia and Britain for the Indo-Pacific region without consulting European allies, triggering a diplomatic crisis with France
08 September 2021, Rhineland-Palatinate, Ramstein-Miesenbach: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken awaits the arrival of German Foreign minister Heiko Maas prior to their meeting at the Ramstein Air Base. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Ramstein Air Base, in Germany. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa/File photo.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is to travel to Paris as tensions rise with France over a trade deal involving Australia that caused Paris to lose a multi-billion-euro submarine deal.

Blinken is to chair the Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and commemorate the organization's 60th anniversary from October 4-6, the US State Department said on Friday.

The top diplomat for Europe, Karen Donfried, acknowledged in a telephone exchange with journalists on Friday that "better and more open consultation between allies" would have been helpful before the submarine crisis.

She expressed understanding for the French position that rebuilding trust requires not only words, but also action.

Last month, the US launched a new security pact with Australia and Britain for the Indo-Pacific region without consulting European allies, triggering a growing diplomatic crisis with France.

The pact, known as AUKUS, caused France to lose 56 billion euros (64.93 billion dollars) due to a failed submarine deal with Australia.

'Partnership'

Donfried said Blinken would underline the partnership with France during his visit. Whether he will meet with President Emmanuel Macron is not known.

Blinken will meet his French counterpart to continue discussions on further strengthening the "vital US-France relationship."

They are to address a range of issues including not only the Indo-Pacific but also the climate crisis and post-pandemic economic recovery.

On Thursday, Blinken is to travel to Mexico where he is due to meet his Mexican counterpart and consider ways to further improve the two countries' strong bilateral relationship, among other issues.

US Secretary of State Blinken heads to France to calm submarine spat
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