French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian terms US move as a ‘stab in the back
ISLAMABAD, September,18 (Asia Free Press): France on Saturday announced to call back its ambassador from US and Australia after Canberra rolled back its around $50 billion Australian dollar deal to acquire French-designed submarines, official said.
In a statement, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he recalled its envoys on the instruction of the President Emmanuel Macron without delay for consultation.
“This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15th September by Australia and the United States,” Darian said.
“The cancellation of the Attack class submarine program binding Australia and France since 2016, and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States meant to launch studies on a possible future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines, constitute unacceptable behavior between allies and partners, whose consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe,” he added.
Diplomatic relations between France and US, Australia tensed for the first time in decades after Canberra cancelled its around $50 billion deal with Paris and signed a new agreement with US for nuclear submarine.
Earlier in the day, French top diplomat termed the new agreement between Australia, US and UK as a “stab in the back”.
In 2016, Australia had chosen France’s Naval Group, partly owned by the state, to build 12 conventionally powered submarines, based on France’s Barracuda nuclear-powered subs in development.
On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden, along with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announced a new US security alliance between their countries that would develop an Australian nuclear-powered submarine fleet.
The Australia-UK-US alliance – dubbed AUKUS – has been strongly condemned by France, with Le Drian calling it “a stab in the back”.
Meanwhile, China has also voiced opposition against the trilateral move, describing it as a “sheer act of nuclear proliferation.”