France Recalls Ambassadors To US, Australia Over Submarine Deal

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Pool

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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The French government has reportedly recalled ambassadors to the United States and Australia over a multi-billion dollar defense deal.

Associated Press White House reporter Jonathan Lemire tweeted Friday afternoon, “France recalls its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia in submarine deal backlash, French foreign minister says.” (RELATED: ‘A Stab In The Back’: France Cancels US Gala After Biden Announces New Defense Partnership With Australia, Britain)

French Foreign Minister Mr. Jean-Ives Le Drian issued a statement saying that the U.S. and Australia had exhibited “unacceptable behavior” for allies and partners.

The French had brokered a deal — worth some $65 billion U.S. dollars — to provide Australia with diesel submarines in order to bolster the nation’s defenses against China, but Australia backed out of the agreement and instead chose to get nuclear submarines from the U.S. in a trilateral deal including the United Kingdom.

France viewed the trilateral partnership, known as AUKUS, as a betrayal, issuing a statement saying that the move to exclude them from the deal “shows a lack of coherence that [France] can only note and regret.”

The French Embassy also took several actions in apparent retaliation for the slight.

In addition to recalling ambassadors from at least two of the offending nations, the embassy scaled back events commemorating a Revolutionary War naval battle and ditched plans entirely for a reception that was to be held there.