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World Australia: France's recall of ambassador over subs regretful

06:25  18 september  2021
06:25  18 september  2021 Source:   msn.com

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France recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the United States on Friday in an unprecedented show of anger over a deal among the United States, Australia and Britain to provide Australia with a fleet of at least eight nuclear-power submarines . The deal scraps a 90 billion Australian dollar ( billion) contract with French majority state-owned Naval Group, signed in 2016, to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines . Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s office said in a statement: “We note with regret France ’ s decision to recall its Ambassador to Australia for consultations following the

Audio on Demand. France recalls ambassadors to US & Australia . France is recalling its ambassadors to the US and Australia after Canberra scrapped a major French submarine purchase in favor of nuclear-powered subs built with US technology. Australia cancelled the order after agreeing a new Indo-Pacific security alliance with the US and Britain: France will lose a 31-billion-euro deal.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia said Saturday it was noting with regret France’s recall of its ambassador over the surprise cancellation of a submarine contract in favor of a U.S. deal.

FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2019, file photo, French Ambassador in charge of the G7 summit preparations Jean-Pierre Thebault in Biarritz, southwestern France. Thebault, the French Ambassador to Australia has been recalled to Paris, Friday Sept. 17, 2021, over the surprise cancellation of a submarine contract between Australia and France. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via AP,File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2019, file photo, French Ambassador in charge of the G7 summit preparations Jean-Pierre Thebault in Biarritz, southwestern France. Thebault, the French Ambassador to Australia has been recalled to Paris, Friday Sept. 17, 2021, over the surprise cancellation of a submarine contract between Australia and France. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via AP,File)

France recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the United States on Friday in an unprecedented show of anger over a deal among the United States, Australia and Britain to provide Australia with a fleet of at least eight nuclear-power submarines.

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Paris has recalled its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations, citing the “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 Also on rt.com The stunning betrayal of France by America over nuclear subs for Australia signals a huge geopolitical shift in US strategy.

The initial French sub contract with Australia , which had been first agreed to in 2016, was for France to build 12 conventionally powered submarines modelled on Barracuda nuclear-powered subs . Australia has never possessed nuclear-powered subs , and with this new US technology sharing partnership is expected to soon join an elite few number of powerful countries who operate nuclear submarines BREAKING: Wow… France has decided to immediately recall its ambassadors to the U. S . & Australia to Paris for consultations following defence deal, AUKUS. It’ s at request of Macron.

The deal scraps a 90 billion Australian dollar ($66 billion) contract with French majority state-owned Naval Group, signed in 2016, to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s office said in a statement: “We note with regret France’s decision to recall its Ambassador to Australia for consultations following the decision on the Attack Class project.”

“Australia understands France’s deep disappointment with our decision, which was taken in accordance with our clear and communicated national security interests,” the statement said. It added that Australia valued its relationship to France and looked forward to future engagements together.

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2021, file photo, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne speaks during a news conference with Australian Minister of Defense Peter Dutton, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the State Department in Washington. Australia said on Saturday, Sept. 18, it regretted France’s decision to recall its ambassador over the surprise cancellation of a submarine contract. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2021, file photo, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne speaks during a news conference with Australian Minister of Defense Peter Dutton, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the State Department in Washington. Australia said on Saturday, Sept. 18, it regretted France’s decision to recall its ambassador over the surprise cancellation of a submarine contract. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Payne and Defense Minister Peter Dutton are currently in the United States for annual talks with their U.S. counterparts and their first with President Joe Biden’s administration.

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“ France is a vital partner and our oldest ally, and we place the highest value on our relationship,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday, according to Reuters. He added that the US would continue to work to resolve the spat at the senior level in the days ahead, namely at an upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in New York next week. The sub sale, which was negotiated in secret, effectively scrapped an earlier agreement for France to supply Australia with billion in diesel-powered submarines , with Paris slamming the new deal as “unacceptable” and “incomprehensible.”

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. The tense diplomatic situation escalated considerably when Australia announced it was ending a 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

French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault said Australia never mentioned that the project could be scrapped.

Thebault told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview recorded on Friday that he found out about the U.S. submarine deal: “Like everybody, thanks to the Australian press.”

“We never were informed about any substantial changes,” Thebault said. “There were many opportunities and many channels. Never was such a change mentioned.”

After the U.S. deal was made public this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he told French President Emanuel Macron in June that there were “very real issues about whether a conventional submarine capability” would address Australia’s strategic security needs in the Indo-Pacific.

FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2019, file photo, French Ambassador in charge of the G7 summit preparations Jean-Pierre Thebault in Biarritz, southwestern France. Thebault, the French Ambassador to Australia has been recalled to Paris, Friday Sept. 17, 2021, over the surprise cancellation of a submarine contract between Australia and France. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via AP,File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2019, file photo, French Ambassador in charge of the G7 summit preparations Jean-Pierre Thebault in Biarritz, southwestern France. Thebault, the French Ambassador to Australia has been recalled to Paris, Friday Sept. 17, 2021, over the surprise cancellation of a submarine contract between Australia and France. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via AP,File)

Morrison was in Paris on his way home from a Group of Seven nations summit in Britain where he had talks with soon-to-be-alliance partners Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Thebault said he had also been at the meeting with Macron and Morrison.

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France has recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultations sparked by the “exceptional seriousness” of Canberra’ s surprise decision to cancel an order for French-built submarines and its security pact with Washington and London. France also cancelled a gala due to be held on Friday to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Chesapeake Bay, a decisive event in the war, which ended with the French fleet’ s victory over the British on 5 September 1781.

France has recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for consultations, in a backlash over a submarine deal. Australia on Wednesday cancelled a multibillion-dollar deal for conventional French submarines to enter a strategic Indo-Pacific alliance with the United States and Britain in which it will obtain US nuclear-powered submarines . Calling the cancellation “unacceptable behaviour”, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement on Friday the decision to recall the envoys, on request from President Emmanuel Macron, “is justified by the exceptional seriousness of

Morrison mentioned “there were changes in the regional situation,” but gave no indication that Australia was considering changing to nuclear propulsion, Thebault said.

“The relationship between France and Australia was built on trust,” Thebault said.

“So fundamentally, everything was built on trust. Everything was supposed to be done in full transparency between the two partners,” he added.

Thebault said difficulties the project had encountered were normal for its scale and large transfers of technologies.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement on Friday that recalling the two ambassadors, on request from Macron, “is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements” made by Australia and the United States.

Le Drian said Australia’s decision to scrap the submarine purchase in favor of nuclear subs built with U.S. technology is “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners.”

Senior opposition lawmaker Mark Dreyfus called on the Australian government to fix its relationship with France.

“The impact on our relationship with France is a concern, particularly as a country with important interests in our region,” Dreyfus said.

“The French were blindsided by this decision and Mr. Morrison should have done much more to protect the relationship. The ... government needs to explain what it is going to do to fix this important relationship,” he added.

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