A day after calling French ambassadors from the US and Australia for consultations, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the cancellation of the contract to supply French submarines to Australia “a serious crisis”. He described the behavior of France’s partners as lying.
Le Drian spoke on Saturday on France 2 about a “serious crisis” caused by the torpedoing by Australia and the US of the “contract of the century” for the supply of French submarines, denouncing “lying …, duplicity …, a serious breach of trust and contempt “from the allies of France.
Le Drian: there is a serious crisis between us
Le Drian reasoned call for consultations by French ambassadors in Canberra and Washington that “there is a serious crisis between us”. The call came in connection with an agreement between Washington, Canberra and London that led to the termination of a $ 40 billion contract with Paris.
However, the call for consultations by the French ambassador in London was deemed unnecessary. “We know their constant opportunism,” Le Drian added ironically.
The minister also assessed that “what has just happened” will determine the new strategic concept of NATO.
Le Drian also reported that President Emmanuel Macron did not speak to US President Joe Biden about the contract.
Washington and Canbera’s reactions
After France summoned its mabassadors, US State Department spokesman Ned Price stated that “France is an important partner and our oldest ally, so we attach the highest importance to our relationship.” Washington, he added, hopes to continue discussions on the subject in the coming days, including at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York next week.
Earlier, a White House official quoted by Reuters reported that the United States deplored France’s decision and said Washington was in close contact with Paris on the matter. He added that the US would be involved in the coming days to resolve disagreements with France.
A spokesman for the Australian Ministry of Diplomacy issued a statement on this matter. “We regret to note France’s decision to recall its ambassador to Australia,” he admitted.
– Australia appreciates relations with France. We look forward to re-establishing cooperation with France on many issues of mutual interest based on shared values, he added.
As part of a new tripartite pact focused on defense cooperation, Australia is to build nuclear-powered submarines based on US and British technology. Consequently, Canberra terminated the contract with the Naval Group for the supply of French submarines.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / MICK TSIKAS