France recalls ambassadors to U.S., Australia to protest submarine deal
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a press conference with Latvia’s Prime Minister (unseen) after their meeting on September 30, 2020 in Riga, Latvia, during Macron’s official visit to Latvia and the Baltic region.
AFP via Getty Images WASHINGTON – France has recalled its Ambassadors to Australia and the United States.| AFP via Getty Images
WASHINGTON – France, still mad about the submarine deal Australia struck with the United States and the United Kingdom, has recalled its ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia.
France’s foreign minister stated Friday that his country had immediately removed the ambassadors to protest a trilateral security agreement that provided nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.
Jean-Yves Le Drian (French foreign minister) said, “At President of the Republic’s request, I have decided immediately to recall our ambassadors to Australia and United States to Paris for consultations.”
The extraordinary gravity of Australia’s announcements on September 15th by the United States justifies this exceptional decision.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden helped unveil the formation of a new partnership between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Biden was joined by Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister and Scott Morrison from Australia as he announced the partnership. According to the leaders, the partnership will strengthen stability in the Indo-Pacific as China increases its military power and influence.
The deal also, in part, ends a long-standing submarine contract between France and Australia and replaces it with a deal between the U.S. and U.K.
The U.S., U.K., and Australia agreed Wednesday that they would assist Canberra with the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines. This will give Australia’s navy an advantage over Chinese vessels.
“It was an attack on the back. The relationship with Australia was one of trust. This trust has been betrayed,” France minister of foreign affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian told radio station Franceinfo Thursday morning.
Paris’ latest developments add to the chaos.
French officials announced Thursday that they would cancel a gala held at the sprawling compound.
The event was scheduled to mark the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Capes and will not take place at the Embassy in Washington Friday night, according to a French official.
According to the official, “other aspects of the celebration continue,” which includes a wreath-laying ceremony at Annapolis in Maryland. Other events that involved a French destroyer at Baltimore and a French submarine in Norfolk’s harbour haven’t been cancelled.
U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken said Thursday to reporters that Lloyd Austin, Defense Secretary and he had talked with their French counterparts regarding the new security agreement ahead of its unveiling.
John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson said that Austin had spoken to his French counterpart again on Friday morning.
Kirby stated, “I will not characterize France’s side of the story but it was evident from the conversation that there are still many things to be done in terms of defense relations with France.” Kirby also said that they discussed common challenges and shared interests.