Johnson, Macron speak for the first time since Aukus pact row

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The BBC reported, Boris Johnson has spoken to French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since a row broke out between London and Paris over a military pact between the UK, US and Australia.

Downing Street said, the UK prime minister and Mr Macron had agreed to “continue working closely together around the world.”

A French government source said the two countries shared “common interests”.

The BBC said, Aukus pact cost France a submarine contract worth billions of dollars.

It mentioned, the row between Paris and London started after Australia signed up to the Aukus pact with the US and UK, to provide it with nuclear-powered submarines.

The BBC added, this involved Australia pulling out out of an existing $37bn (£27bn) deal with France to build 12 conventional diesel-powered submarines.

 

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As a result, the French defence minister cancelled talks with her UK counterpart, while the French government recalled its ambassadors in Washington and Canberra.

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One minister called the Aukus deal a “stab in the back”, but Mr Johnson has accused the French of over-reacting, urging Mr Macron: “Donnez-moi (give me) a break.”

In an effort to smooth out differences, a Downing Street spokesperson said Mr Johnson and Mr Macron had spoken by telephone on Friday and discussed “a range of issues of mutual interest”.

“They reaffirmed the importance of the UK-France relationship and agreed to continue working closely together around the world on our shared agenda, through Nato and bilaterally,” they added.

The two leaders also discussed migrant Channel crossings.

The spokesperson also said Mr Johnson and Mr Macron had “noted in particular the strategic significance of our long-standing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and in Africa”.

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And they had discussed how to “break the business model of people smugglers who put lives at risk” in the English Channel and resolved to “keep talking on other issues, such as fisheries licences and the Northern Ireland Protocol”.

A French government source told the BBC the two leaders had spoken at Mr Johnson’s request.

They added: “Mr Boris Johnson expressed his intention to re-establish cooperation between France and the United Kingdom, in accordance with our values and our common interests.”

Source: BBC