'Just like Trump': France recalls ambassadors from US, Australia over Aukus nuclear submarine deal

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Sep 18, 2021, 08:13 AM(IST)

Joe Biden-Emmanuel Macron Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

On Friday, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed that the decision to recall ambassadors from the US and Australia was taken due to 'the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States'

A few hours after the French government expressed disagreement and anger over the new ‘Aukus’ alliance, the European country has recalled its ambassadors from the US and Australia.

Several nations and world leaders were left shocked and surprised as the US, UK and Australia announced a new alliance in front of the world.

While China fumed over the new alliance’s harsh stance on the Asian country, the European Union (EU) claimed they were unaware of this new friendship.

Also read | As China fumes over new alliance, Taiwan thanks Australia and US for 'firm and open support' of Aukus

However, the biggest setback came for the French government, who claim Australia abandoned its deal with Paris to buy French submarines in favour of US vessels. 

On Friday, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed that the decision to recall ambassadors from the US and Australia was taken due to "the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States".

The announcement came a few hours after France called off a gala at its ambassador's house in Washington which was scheduled for Friday. This event was organsied to celebrate the anniversary of a decisive naval battle in the American Revolution.

France has accused the US and Australia of practicing morally incorrect practices. "It's really a stab in the back," Le Drian said Thursday. "We had established a relationship of trust with Australia, this trust has been betrayed".

Emmanuel Macron-led government had a pending deal with Australia. After the announcement, France lost the contract to supply conventional submarines to Australia that was worth Aus$50 billion (31 billion euros, $36.5 billion) when signed in 2016.

French minister lashed out at US President Joe Biden and compared him to his predecessor, Donald Trump. "This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Franceinfo radio. "I am angry and bitter. This isn't done between allies."

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Meanwhile, Australia and US have been trying to make it up to the angered nation.

Australia said that while it understands France’s anger, the country hopes it will continue working closely with Paris.

Australia said Friday it hoped to keep working closely with France but understood its "disappointment" with the scrapping of a major submarine deal.

"I absolutely understand the disappointment. There's no doubt that these are very difficult issues to manage," Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in Washington. "But we will continue to approach constructively and closely with our colleagues in France."

She also added that the Australian government understands the importance of France’s work in the Pacific region. The minister added that she hopes the Australian government can work with the French government "to make sure that they do understand the value that we place on the role that they play and do understand the value we place on the bilateral relationship and the work that we want to continue to do together."

The US too is hoping to sort out the matter with France during the United Nations General Assembly being held in the country next week.

"We hope to continue our discussion on this issue at the senior level in coming days, including at #UNGA next week," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on Twitter.

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"We have been in close contact with our French allies. We understand their position," Price said. "France is a vital partner & our oldest ally, and we place the highest value on our relationship."

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