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Biden and Macron to speak by phone after submarine fallout

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden was scheduled to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday as the United States seeks to stem the fallout from France’s fury over a deal to sell nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, according to a French official.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Macron expected “clarifications and clear commitments” from Biden during the call, which he said was requested by the White House.

“We expect our allies that the exchanges and consultations which should have been carried out have not taken place, and this raises the question of confidence,” Attal said Wednesday. “It is therefore now up to all of us to bear the consequences together.”

The diplomatic row between the United States and France erupted last week over the deal the Biden administration announced with Australia to provide that country with nuclear-powered submarines as part of a broader security pact that also included the UK. But the French expected them to sell submarines to Australia under a 2016 contract.

French officials said they were taken aback by the announcement, which cost them the $ 66 billion deal. In response, France recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia and canceled a gala at its embassy in Washington.

The White House declined to comment on the call, but press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday officials in both countries were working to schedule one.

Nancy Ing contributed.