France is calling back its ambassadors from the United States and Australia to discuss the new defence pact between those two countries and the United Kingdom. Part of the agreement is that Australia buys a fleet of US nuclear submarines and cancels a $40 billion submarine order with France.
Foreign Minister Le Drian speaks of “unacceptable behavior” and emphasizes in his statement that recall ambassadors is an “exceptional decision”.
The three Anglo-Saxon countries will share information on advanced technologies and defence through a new partnership. The pact is seen as a move to form a single front against China.
Australia entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Naval Group in 2016 to build a new subsea fleet. That deal was reconfirmed two weeks ago.
was not until Wednesday morning that the French President Macron was told by Australian Prime Minister Morrison that the submarine agreement was cancelled, AP news agency reported on anonymous sources earlier today.
Le Drian reacted ferociously to that announcement yesterday. “Allies dont do this,” he said. “This brutal and unpredictable decision reminds me of what President Trump used to do.” He received support from EU foreign coordinator Borrell, who was also unaware of the British-American-Australian briefing.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced today to understand French incomprehension. “But we will continue to work constructively with our French colleagues,” she assured.