In addition, France refused to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Chesapeake in the United States. As explained by the head of the country’s Foreign Ministry, Jean-Yves Le Drian, this is an exceptional decision, which is associated with Canberra’s decision to terminate the submarine contract with the French company Naval Group and the subsequent announcement of a new AUKUS partnership with the United States and Great Britain, which also involves the creation of nuclear submarines. boats for the Australian Navy.
Backstab and slap
According to the French diplomat, such behavior is not acceptable between partners and rather resembles the steps taken by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
He also called the breakdown of the multibillion-dollar contract “a stab in the back.” Le Drian stressed that Paris has questions to both Canberra and Washington.
Alain Rodier, deputy director of the French Center for Intelligence Studies, noted that Australia had slapped France by terminating the contract. According to him, Paris has lost the largest contract that would have helped the French naval industry for many years.
Contract of the century
Australia signed a contract with Naval Group in 2016. Then the deal was worth 50 billion Australian dollars. The Australian Royal Navy was expected to purchase twelve French-built non-nuclear submarines. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed the signing of the treaty, calling the plan “highly ambitious.”
Since then, the contract price has increased to 90 billion Australian dollars (about 56 billion euros), and Australia has decided to buy at least eight nuclear submarines in 18 months. A spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade emphasized that the decision was made in accordance with the national interests of Australia, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Peter Stano, the spokesman for the European Union’s foreign policy, said the EU was unaware of plans to create an AUKUS alliance. According to him, the EU is in contact with partners to find out the details. Both Australia and the United States have expressed regret over Paris’ decision to withdraw the ambassadors, but have not apologized for canceling the contract. At the same time, both countries stressed that France remains their important ally. The United States also expressed hope that it would be able to hold talks with France on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reminded Paris of the cancellation of the Mistral aircraft carrier deal in 2015. Then, on the initiative of Paris, the agreement with Moscow on the construction of the Mistral helicopter-carrying ships was terminated. “Or is it just the knives you feel in your back that are bad?” – noted the diplomat.
In turn, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed hope that the AUKUS alliance “will bring countries closer together than ever before, creating a new defense partnership and providing jobs and prosperity.”