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France's Le Drian to hold talks with US' Blinken on Oct 5

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By Reuters
France's Le Drian to hold talks with US' Blinken on Oct 5
France's Le Drian to hold talks with US' Blinken on Oct 5   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

PARIS -French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will hold talks with United States’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Oct 5, as the two countries aim to rebuild diplomatic ties in the wake of a row over a lucrative submarine contract which France lost.

“The two ministers will hold in-depth talks, following on from their meeting in New York on September 23, in order to identify the steps that will be needed to re-establish confidence between our two countries,” French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said in a statement.

“As the minister had said in New York, getting out of this crisis will take time and will need firm action,” she added.

Diplomatic relations between the United States and France hit a low point last month, after Australia cancelled a previous multi-billion dollar French-designed submarine deal, to build instead at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with U.S. and British technology.

In retaliation, France briefly withdrew its ambassador to the United States, although the ambassador has since returned to Washington DC.

France’s Ambassador to Washington – Philippe Etienne – tweeted on Saturday a photo of him meeting Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Advisor to U.S. President Joe Biden.

“Important meeting with @JakeSullivan46 on the implementation of the joint statement by our Presidents to develop a common strategic agenda including on supporting French and European Union engagement in the Indo-Pacific, a stronger European Union defense and the United States’ and European Union’s fight against terrorism,” tweeted Etienne.

President Joe Biden and President Emmanuel Macron have also talked pledging “in-depth consultations” on the two countries’ relations.

Blinken visits Paris from Monday to Wednesday and will chair a meeting of ministers from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Blinken will be joined by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and other U.S. officials in Paris.