British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had his first call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday amid a diplomatic crisis over a submarine contract with Australia.
Johnson affirmed that he wants to “re-establish cooperation”, Macron’s office said, noting that the conversation came at the prime minister’s request
During the phone call, Johnson said he hoped for cooperation “in line with our values and our common interests”, such as the battle against climate change, securing the Indo-Pacific region and the fight against terrorism.
On his part, Macron told Johnson that “he is awaiting his proposals”, his office said in a brief statement.
Last week, Macron was left furious after Australia ditched a mega-deal to buy diesel submarines from France in favour of American nuclear-powered ones, secured during secret negotiations facilitated by Britain.
France considered this step as a “stab in the back” over the submarine contract which made Macron recall the French ambassadors to Washington and Canberra in an unprecedented diplomatic protest.
Nevertheless, the French envoy in London remained at her post, with France’s Europe Minister Clement Beaune dismissing London as a mere “third wheel” in the deal and a “junior partner” to the US.
Using franglais, the British leader appealed to France to “Donnez-moi un break”, calling for calm after tempers flared in France, while also telling Paris to “prenez un grip” (“get a grip”).