Sullivan Meets French Ambassador to Discuss Confidence-Building Measures
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has held a meeting with French Ambassador to the United States Philippe Etienne to discuss confidence-building measures following the diplomatic row over the US submarine contract with Australia under the recently-established AUKUS alliance, the White House said.
On Thursday, Etienne returned to Washington after almost two weeks of absence following the French decision to recall him over the dispute. The decision to send the ambassador back to the United States was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron on September 22 after his phone conversation with the US counterpart, Joe Biden.
"National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan today met with Ambassador Philippe Etienne of the Republic of France at the White House following Ambassador Etienne’s return to Washington, D.C. This meeting was in line with the shared commitment by President Biden and President Macron in their September 22 phone call to begin a process of in-depth consultations on a range of strategic matters, in order to create the conditions for ensuring confidence and propose concrete measures toward common objectives," the White House said in a statement on late Thursday.
"Mr. Sullivan welcomed Ambassador Etienne’s plan to engage with officials across the U.S. government to continue advancing our shared agenda, in advance of President Biden and President Macron meeting in Europe at the end of October," the statement added.
In mid-September, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia declared the formation of AUKUS as a platform for defense and security cooperation. The announcement came as Canberra unilaterally withdrew from the $66 billion agreement on submarines with Paris in favor of the supply of vehicles within the framework of the alliance.