France on Friday (local time) recalled ambassadors from the US and Australia amid submarine deal outrage.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the ambassadors were recalled for “consultations.” Le Drian also said Australia’s decision to cancel the submarine development programme with Paris and announcement of a new partnership with the US “constitute unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners,” reported euronews.
“At the request of the President of the Republic, I decided to immediately recall to Paris our two ambassadors in the United States and in Australia for consultations,” said Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The move comes after Canberra announced earlier this week that it was scrapping a multi-billion purchase of French conventional submarines in favour of nuclear subs built with US technology.
The deal was announced on Wednesday by the US, UK and Australia on the launch of the trilateral security pact “AUKUS”.
“This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” said Le Drian.
Le Drian’s indignation reflected the fact that France had its own deal with Australia, concluded in 2016, for conventional, less technologically sophisticated submarines. That USD 66 billion deal is now defunct, but a harsh legal battle over the contract appears inevitable.
The French official slammed “unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners, the consequences of which affect the very conception that we have of our alliances, our partnerships and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe,” reported euronews.
Although none of the three governments made any mention of China, the new partnership is widely understood to be an attempt to counter Beijing’s assertiveness in the region, added euronews.
It plans for deeper diplomatic, security, and defence cooperation between the three capitals with enhanced capabilities and interoperability in cyber, artificial intelligence, and quantum technologies.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden said in a statement that their partnership is “guided by our enduring ideals and shared commitment to the international rules-based order.”