On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron unleashed on President Joe Biden as he recalled France’s ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne, after President Biden stabbed France in the back and left them out of the nuclear submarine deal with Australia. The U.K. was also included in the deal.
“At the request of the President of the Republic, I have decided to immediately recall our two ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. “This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States.”
“The cancellation of the Attack class submarine program binding Australia and France since 2016, and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States meant to launch studies on a possible future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines, constitute unacceptable behavior between allies and partners, whose consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe,” the foreign minister continued.
As Le Drian indicated, France’s ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thebault, was also recalled. Thebault said on Friday that France was “deliberately kept in the black” about the sub deal between Australia and the U.S.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new trilateral military alliance between the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia on Wednesday, dubbed AUKUS. The alliance, meant to contain Chinese aggression in the Pacific, was immediately denounced by France.
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In a joint statement with French Defense Minister Florence Parlay on Wednesday, Le Drian said: “The American choice to exclude a European ally and partner such as France from a structuring partnership with Australia, at a time when we are facing unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, whether in terms of our values or in terms of respect for multilateralism based on the rule of law, shows a lack of coherence that France can only note and regret.”
The tense diplomatic situation escalated considerably when Australia announced it was ending a $90 billion program to build a dozen French-designed nuclear-powered submarines, in favor of subs that would be more interoperable with American and British ships.
Le Drian declared he was “very angry” over the “unilateral, sudden, and unforeseen decision” by the Biden administration to cut France out of the Australian sub contract, furiously comparing to “what Mr. Trump would do.”
“It’s really a stab in the back. We had established a relationship of trust with Australia. This trust has been betrayed,” Le Drian fumed.
The Biden administration admitted on Thursday that it gave France only hours of notice before publicly announcing the sub deal with Australia, prompting the furious French embassy to cancel a Washington gala commemorating the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Capes, a pivotal Revolutionary War engagement in which France defeated the British navy on behalf of the rebelling American colonies.
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