France recalls envoys to US and Australia amid submarine deal backlash

10:53, 18 September 2021
France recalls envoys to US and Australia amid submarine deal backlash Photo: Address by Emmanuel Macron, President of France/CC BY 2.0

France has recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultation in response to a recently signed security pact between Australia and the US that led to the $56 billion contract termination between France and Australia.

French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said in a statement that such a move was requested by President Emmanuel Macron.

“This extraordinary decision reflects the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States. The abandonment of the ocean-class submarine project that Australia and France had been working on since 2016 and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States aimed at studying the possibility of future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines constitute unacceptable behavior among allies and partners; their consequences affect the very concept we have of our alliances, our partnerships, and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe.”

National Security Council spokesperson for the US commented on France’s decision to pull out envoys to Washington saying that the US understands its ally’s position and the country will continue to be engaged in resolving the discord.

French authorities said earlier this week that the country took the deal cancellation as a betrayal, thus France will lose around $65 billion.

Australia formally announced it would withdraw from its previous contract with France, which included the agreement between two countries where Australia had to acquire 12 conventional submarines from the French Naval Group.

According to the rules of the recently signed pact between the US and the UK, the States will help Australia with building sophisticated nuclear-powered submarines, using new technologies. The planned to construct submarines will have a wider range of maneuvers than the conventional ones, and it would be much harder to detect.

The agreement, which is named AUKUS, was signed presumably to oppose Chinese influence in Asia and the Pacific region.

Chinese officials slammedthe pact calling it extremely irresponsible and called the countries of the deal to throw off the cold-war mentality and do more to contribute to peace and stability.