France recalls envoys from US and Australia in protest at submarine deal

Saturday - 18/09/2021 14:15
Foreign ministry condemns ‘unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners’
Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, said the consequences of the Aukus deal ‘touch the very foundation of what we do with our alliances and our partnerships’ © AP
Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, said the consequences of the Aukus deal ‘touch the very foundation of what we do with our alliances and our partnerships’ © AP

France has recalled its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations, in a diplomatic protest against a new security pact under which Australia will buy nuclear-powered submarines from the US and cancel its existing contract with Paris.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, French foreign minister, issued a statement on Friday night saying he had been told to make the protest by president Emmanuel Macron.

The so-called Aukus deal between the Australia, the UK and the US “constitutes unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners, whose consequences touch the very foundation of what we do with our alliances and our partnerships and on the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe”, he said.

France is particularly incensed at being excluded from the deal because it has had close military co-operation with each of the three countries involved in the new strategic arrangement, including anti-terrorist operations in the African Sahel and Afghanistan.

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