France’s Naval Group announced it would send Australia a detailed proposal of the costs it has determined the country needs to pay for backing out of a massive contract to purchase French submarines, The Hill reported.
Australia agreed to buy 12 diesel-powered submarines from France in 2016 but scrapped those plans last week in favor of purchasing nuclear-powered submarines from the U.S. and the U.K., The Hill reported.
The previous deal, dubbed the “contract of the century,” was worth $36.5 billion, before being reappraised at $60 billion, Agence France-Presse reported. The new deal was negotiated secretly, infuriating France, which withdrew its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia in response.
🔴 Naval Group Statement
Naval Group takes note of the decision of the Australian authorities to acquire a fleet of nuclear submarines in collaboration with the United States and the United Kingdom. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/PEzS74mmFZ
— Naval Group (@navalgroup) September 16, 2021
President Emmanuel Macron agreed to return the country’s ambassador to Washington on Wednesday after speaking with President Joe Biden. “The two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners,” the two leaders said in a joint statement released by the White House.
The bill will be sent to Australia in the coming weeks, Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet told France’s Le Figaro newspaper on Wednesday, The Hill reported. “We were in shock. This decision was announced to us without any notice,” he said.
France’s defense ministry has said they have already begun to negotiate a settlement with Australia, South China Morning Post reported. (RELATED: ‘A Stab In The Back’: France Feels Betrayed, Cancels US Gala After Biden’s New Trilateral Defense Deal)
Pommellet said the contract was terminated for “convenience” and Naval Group was “not at fault” for the consequences of such a decision. “We will assert our rights,” he added.
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