US President Joe Biden admitted Friday that his administration was “clumsy” in its handling of the submarine deal that deprived France of billions of dollars in defense contracts.
The comment came ahead of a meeting between Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, in the Italian capital, Rome, with the aim of repairing the fractured relations between the two countries, in the wake of Washington’s agreement to provide Australia with nuclear submarines, according to the American “CNN” network.
“I think what happened, to use an English phrase, what we did was clumsy,” Biden said, sitting next to Macron at the French embassy in the Vatican. “I had the impression that certain things happened that didn’t happen.”
He added: “I had the impression that France had informed long ago that the deal would not be honest.”
And brought together an official meeting later between Biden and Macron, during which the first confirmed that Washington had no “more reliable ally” than France.
“There is a sense of obligation to France because this country is an added value everywhere,” he said.
For his part, Macron called for the situation caused by the submarine issue between Washington and Paris not to be repeated.
And he considered that his meeting with Biden was “very important” after that issue and the crisis that accompanied it.
And last September, relations between France on the one hand, and the United States and Australia on the other, entered an open crisis, after the latter canceled the deal to purchase French submarines and replaced them with American nuclear-powered ones.
The cancellation of the deal prompted Paris to describe the matter as “betrayal and a stab in the back.”
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, also announced that the bloc “regrets” for not being informed of the security agreement concluded between the United States, Australia and Britain for the Indo-Pacific region.