Macron hopes to end rift with US soon

BRDO (SLOVENIA) • French President Emmanuel Macron said he hoped to close a rift with US counterpart Joe Biden when the pair meet in Rome at the end of this month, saying he wanted the long-time allies to work together once again "in good faith".

Reconciliation at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit on Oct 30 to Oct 31 would follow a Biden-Macron phone call last month and potentially end a transatlantic row triggered last month by the United States' negotiation in secret of a military pact, known as Aukus, with Australia and Britain to counter China, excluding France.

"We need to look with lucidity at the decisions taken by our allies. There were choices that were made and I can't say that France and Europe were taken into account, but we have a history that is bigger (than this)," Mr Macron said on Tuesday as he arrived at a summit of European Union leaders in Slovenia.

"We will catch up during the G-20. I think it is the right occasion to see how we can re-engage," he said of his planned meeting with Mr Biden.

"It is about facts and what to do together," he told reporters at the Brdo estate outside the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

Australia's decision under Aukus to cancel a lucrative submarine contract with France last month and opt for US-designed, nuclear-propelled vessels incensed Paris.

Mr Macron said the episode was a sign the EU needed to do more on its own, particularly in crises on the 27-nation bloc's borders. The EU has also set out its own strategy to increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific and counter China's rising power.

"We must look at the way Europe should address challenges in its neighbourhood, the crises that exist, its own security and to continue to work in good faith with historic partners and allies," he added, in reference to the US.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2021, with the headline 'Macron hopes to end rift with US soon'. Subscribe