French ambassador back in the US

French ambassador back in the US
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French Ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne announced on Thursday that he is back in the U.S. after having been recalled amid the furor over the nuclear submarine agreement the U.S. had made with Australia that nixed France's own submarine deal.

"I am back in the US with a clear mandate following the conversation between our presidents which has defined the conditions and the priorities for this re-engagement, with the goal to rebuild trust in our relationship—a process that will involve a great deal of work," Etienne wrote on Twitter.


Earlier in September, French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronMacron tells UK to 'get serious' on migrant crisis amid fresh tensions Cities prep security plans for large holiday crowds Harris's communications director to depart next month MORE made the decision to withdraw Etienne as well as French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thébault in protest of the nuclear submarine deal brokered by the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

Speaking to NPR last week, Etienne said his return home to France was "a bit sad" because of the circumstances that precipitated it.

The French ambassador said his country's pre-existing deal with Australia "was not only a contract; it was a cornerstone of our Indo-Pacific strategy presented by our president in Sydney — in Australia in 2018. So there is a lack of transparency. There is a breach of trust. There is unpredictability."

Withdrawing an ambassador is rarely done, but French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at the time that “this exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15th September by Australia and the United States."

Le Drian added that the abandonment of the 2016 submarine deal France had with Australia was "unacceptable behavior between allies and partners, whose consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe.”

After meeting with Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenEcuador's security crisis warrants US assistance At least 20 Sudan troops dead after clash on Ethiopia border Germany calls on Congress not to sanction Nord Stream 2 pipeline: report MORE last week, Le Drian said "time and actions" would be needed in order to fully restore ties between the U.S. and France following this incident.

Macron and President BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE spoke on the phone last week, after which the White House said the two leaders "agreed that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners. President Biden conveyed his ongoing commitment in that regard."

After this conversation, it was announced that Etienne would return to the U.S.