US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shook hands with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday in the highest-level contact between the allies since a crisis erupted last week over a submarine contract.
“They said hello to each other. That’s normal,” a French diplomatic source said.
The two were attending a meeting at the United Nations on troubled Libya’s peace process and did not speak to each other at length, although they could hold a separate meeting later, the source said.
The encounter comes as President Joe Biden prepares to speak by telephone with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in a bid to calm the outrage in Paris.
France was livid after Australia canceled a giant contact for French conventional submarines and said it would pick US nuclear versions as it entered a new three-way alliance with Washington and London.
US officials said that Blinken, a fluent French speaker, spoke at length last week to Philippe Etienne, the French ambassador who has been recalled for consultations to Paris as a protest.
But Le Drian has said he had no meeting scheduled during the week of UN diplomacy with Blinken as he accused the United States of violating their friendship.