White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said President Joe Biden was aware of France being displeased with the United States' role in the Australia submarine deal. In an interview with French broadcaster BFMTV that aired Monday, presidential climate envoy John Kerry claimed President Biden had "literally not been aware of what had transpired" after the deal between the US, the United Kingdom and Australia triggered off a diplomatic row with France.
"Of course he was aware of the French being upset," Psaki said in response to a question. "He of course was aware, the president, of the French being displeased about the deal with the Australians. John Kerry also speaks regularly to the French as part of his role as the climate envoy. He's someone who also served as Secretary of State," she said.
When pressed further on the matter and asked why the president "doesn't know about these things in real-time," Psaki, once again, insisted that Biden "of course knew about the French being displeased." She suggested he "ask John Kerry specifically about the context of his comments," saying Biden and Kerry "are good friends," according to Fox News.
France recalled its ambassador to the US and called off a defence meeting with UK after Australia backed out of a multibillion-euro submarine contract in favour of buying technology from the US for its nuclear-powered submarines.
Last month, France announced a major military defense deal with Greece amid the diplomatic standoff. The multibillion-euro defense deal will see Athens buying three French warships.
French President Emmanuel Macron is set to meet Joe Biden in Rome at the end of October at the Group of 20 summit on October 30-31 following a conciliatory phone call last month.
"We need to look with lucidity at the decisions taken by our allies. There were choices that were made and I can't say that France and Europe were taken into account, but we have a history that is bigger (than this)," Macron said as he arrived at a summit of EU leaders in Slovenia.