French foreign minister Le Drian to hold talks with Blinken after submarine row


October 02, 2021


French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (left) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold in-depth talks on Oct 5, 2021. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS




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,” said Mr Le Drian’s office on Saturday (Oct 3).

Diplomatic relations between the United States and France hit a low point last month, after Australia cancelled a previous US$40 billion (S$54 billion) French-designed submarine deal, to build instead at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with US and British technology.

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

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have also held talks since that row over the nuclear submarine deal broke out, and have pledged “in-depth consultations” on the two countries’ relations.

Mr Blinken visits Paris from Monday to Wednesday and will chair a meeting of ministers from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as holding talks with French officials.

Mr Blinken will be joined by US climate envoy John Kerry, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and other US officials in Paris. Mr Blinken will then head to Mexico for security talks next Friday.

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