Antony Blinken Heading to Paris on a Fence-Mending Mission

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The Secretary of State will meet with French counterparts as the administration works to fix a rift in the aftermath of its Australian submarine deal

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The new partnership, called Aucus for Australia, UK, US, involves the sharing of US nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia, and was formed with the cancellation of a lucrative French-Australian submarine contract.

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Ahead of Mr Blinken’s visit, Karen Donfried, the newly confirmed assistant secretary of state for European affairs, said on Friday that repairing ties “will take time and hard work, and will need to be demonstrated not just in words, but deeds.” Me too.”

Ms Donfried said: “I don’t think there is a silver bullet to improve relations between the US and France in the wake of the Ocus announcement”.

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He said Mr Blinken’s meetings in Paris would focus on strengthening ties between the two countries and between the US and the EU. France assumes the presidency of the Council of the European Union in January.

France has bitterly complained that it was not consulted or asked to participate in the new security partnership.

“We agree that the September 15 announcement will benefit from better and more open consultations between allies,” said Donfried, echoing Mr Blinken’s comments last week. “Our meetings in Paris are part of our commitment to the process of in-depth consultations going forward.”

In a formal event scheduled during the visit, Mr. Blinken is set to chair a conference of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a Paris-based research body focused on rebuilding the global economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Used to be. Addressing climate change, officials said on Friday.

The Biden administration is focusing heavily on improving relations with France.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Thursday met with French Ambassador Philippe tienne, who has returned from Paris after being called back for consultation. The meeting was followed by a phone conversation between President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron on September 22, during which the leaders resolved to improve relations.

M/s Blinken and Le Drian met in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week, and the Secretary called on Mr. Etienne in Washington on Friday.

Mr Etienne said on Thursday he had returned to Washington with a mandate to rebuild trust in the relationship, which he called “a process that would involve a lot of work.”

State Department officials did not elaborate on the expected outcome of the talks, but Ms Donfried said the allies aimed to deepen cooperation in several areas, such as improving Indo-Pacific, trans-Atlantic and European security and Countering terrorism in the Sahel.

During the OECD assembly, Mr Blinken will be accompanied by John Kerry, Special Presidential Climate Envoy, US Trade Representative Catherine Tai, Chair of the Economic Advisory Council Cecilia Rouse and Under Secretary of State for Economic Development, Energy and Environment Jose. Fernandez.

Mr. Blinken will also visit Mexico City on October 7 and 8 as part of a multi-agency delegation for the US-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue. The talks follow a high level economic dialogue between the two countries held in Washington on 9 September.

Courtney McBride at [email protected]

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