France RECALLS ambassadors from US and Australia citing ‘exceptional gravity’ of AUKUS submarine deal

Paris has recalled its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations, citing “unacceptable behavior” of the US, UK and Australia in striking a nuclear submarine deal that scuttled a French shipbuilding contract.

“At the request of the President of the Republic [Emmanuel Macron], I decided to immediately recall to Paris for consultations our two ambassadors in the United States and in Australia,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday.

Le Drian said the decision was justified by the “exceptional gravity” of the September 15 announcement made by Australia and the US.

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Abandoning the submarine project that Canberra and Paris agreed on in 2016 constitutes “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners, the consequences of which affect the very conception that we have of our alliances, our partnerships and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe,” said the French foreign minister.

US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his British counterpart Boris Johnson announced the ‘AUKUS’ initiative in a three-way virtual event on Wednesday afternoon. The centerpiece of this new alliance of “maritime democracies” is the 18-month project to provide Canberra with nuclear-powered but conventionally armed submarines. This would make Australia only the seventh country in the world to operate such vessels – and the only one without a nuclear arsenal of its own.

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(L) Joe Biden. © AFP / JIM WATSON; (C) Scott Morrison. © AFP / ROHAN THOMSON; (R) Boris Johnson. © Reuters / Christopher Furlong
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