A Sputnik correspondent from the airport reported that French ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne, has returned to Washington after a nearly two-week absence amid a dispute between the two countries over the US submarine contract with Australia.
Etienne declined to answer questions from reporters when he arrived at Washington’s Dulles International Airport on Wednesday.
The ambassador was recalled to Paris on September 17, two days after abandoning a $66 billion agreement on submarines with France in favor of a partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom under the trilateral security alliance AUKUS. France considered the move a “stab in the back” and also recalled its ambassador from Australia.
On 22 September, after a phone conversation with US President Joe Biden on the matter, French President Emmanuel Macron decided to send tienne back to Washington.
Last week, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed the issue with his American counterpart, Antony Blinken, noting that the restoration of trust between the two states would “take time and action.”
In mid-September, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced the formation of AUKUS as a forum for defense and security cooperation. The announcement comes as Canberra unilaterally withdrew from a $66 billion agreement with Paris on submarines in favor of supplying vehicles within the framework of the alliance.