In call, Biden, Macron discuss strengthening European defenses  

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In a call, US President Joe Biden and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed strengthening European defenses.  

The statement said, the two leaders "discussed efforts to enable a stronger and more capable European defense while ensuring complementarity with NATO."  

The two leaders are due to meet in Rome later this month. The statement said Biden looked forward to the chance to "take stock of the many areas of US-France cooperation, and reinforce our shared interests." The French presidency also issued a similar statement.   

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This development comes as the US is looking to mend ties after the crisis over AUKUS row.  

On September 22, the two presidents had last spoken to each other. It was their first conversation since the spat.  

After the call, Macron ordered the French ambassador to return to the US.   

Macron and Biden had vowed to initiate 'in-depth consultations' to bring back the friendship and confidence between the two countries.   

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"The two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners," the statement reads.  

Earlier, the French president had openly criticised Australia for ditching a submarine deal with the European nation for a new defence pact with the US and UK, especially without letting Macron know in advance.  

(With inputs from agencies) 

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