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French ambassador to U.S. to return to Washington, D.C.

French Ambassador to the United States Philippe Etienne will return to Washington, D.C., next week after being recalled to France. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA-EFE
French Ambassador to the United States Philippe Etienne will return to Washington, D.C., next week after being recalled to France. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA-EFE

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- French Ambassador to the United States Philippe Etienne will return to the United States after French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden discussed a controversial submarine deal involving Australia, the two leaders announced Wednesday.

Macron recalled Etienne on Friday in response to the United States' deal with Britain to share nuclear-powered submarine tech with Australia. The agreement scuttled a multibillion-dollar deal Australia had with France, angering Macron.

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Macron and Biden issued a joint statement Wednesday, saying the situation would have been improved with better communication.

"The two leaders have decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring confidence and proposing concrete measures toward common objectives," the statement reads.

"They will meet in Europe at the end of October in order to reach shared understandings and maintain momentum in this process. President Emmanuel Macron has decided that the French ambassador will return to Washington next week. He will then start intensive work with senior U.S. officials."

The statement added that Biden reaffirmed the strategic importance of France and Europe's engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

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