French Ambassador Returning to U.S. Just Days After Recall Following Submarine Deal

France's ambassador will return to Washington next week, days after his recall from the U.S. following the submarine dispute between America and France, the Associated Press reported.

President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly held a phone call Wednesday that resulted in the decision to send the ambassador back to Washington and meet in Europe at the end of October.

France called back the ambassador after the U.S., Australia and the U.K. announced a joint deal to up defense in the Indo-Pacific last week. The agreement led Australia to cancel a multi-billion deal to purchase diesel submarines from France and instead buy nuclear-powered submarines from the U.S.

The Elysees and White House released a joint statement Wednesday saying that both leaders "have decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring confidence." The statement added that France's ambassador will "have intensive work with senior U.S. officials" upon his return, AP reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Biden Speaks with Macron
France's ambassador will return to the U.S. next week, days after U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron over the phone regarding the submarine dispute. Biden (right) speaks with Macron during a plenary session during a NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 14, 2021. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via AP

Biden and Macron agreed "that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners," the statement said. Biden "conveyed his ongoing commitment in that regard."

Biden reaffirmed in the statement "the strategic importance of French and European engagement in the Indo-Pacific region."

The European Union unveiled last week a new strategy for boosting economic, political and defense ties in the vast area stretching from India and China through Japan to Southeast Asia and eastward past New Zealand to the Pacific.

The United States also "recognizes the importance of a stronger and more capable European defense, that contributes positively to transatlantic and global security and is complementary to NATO," the statement said.

Earlier Wednesday, Macron's office said the French president was expecting "clarifications and clear commitments" from Biden, who had requested the call.

French officials described as a "crisis of trust" last week's announcement of the Indo-Pacific deal, with Macron being formally informed only a few hours beforehand.

Paris is calling for "acts, not words only," Macron's office said.

France's European Union partners agreed Tuesday to put the dispute at the top of the bloc's political agenda, including at an EU summit next month.

The French presidency categorically denied a report by Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper published on Wednesday saying Macron could offer the country's permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council to the European Union if the bloc backs his plans on EU defense.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed French anger over the submarine deal, saying French officials should "get a grip." Using both French and English words, he added they should give him a "break."

Speaking to reporters on a visit to Washington, Johnson said the deal was "fundamentally a great step forward for global security. It's three very like-minded allies standing shoulder-to-shoulder, creating a new partnership for the sharing of technology.

"It's not exclusive. It's not trying to shoulder anybody out. It's not adversarial towards China, for instance."

The deal has widely been seen as part of American efforts to counter a more assertive China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Biden and Macron at G-7 Summit
President Joe Biden (right) and French President Emmanuel Macron announced that they will meet in Europe next month following the submarine dispute between the two leaders. Above, Biden and Macron shake hands during a bilateral meeting at the G-7 summit, in Carbis Bay, England, on June 12, 2021. Patrick Semansky/AP Photo