France Recalls Its US and Australian Ambassadors Over Nuclear Submarine Dispute
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced a security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom. One of the first U.S. moves as part of the agreement will be to assist Australia with the purchase of nuclear submarines, which offer more stealth capabilities, speed, and range than traditional submarines, he said. Just a handful of countries, including China and Russia, have nuclear-powered submarines.
In response, France announced on Friday that it is recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after claiming its Indo-Pacific interests had been undermined by the new agreement.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French minister for Europe and foreign affairs, said in a statement that this new pact was “an affront” to France’s agreement with Australia. “At the request of the President of the Republic, I am recalling to Paris without delay our ambassadors to the United States and to Australia for consultations,” the statement began. This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15th September by Australia and the United States.”
France notes the decision just announced by the Australian Government of the halting of the ocean-class #FutureSubmarineProgram [FSP].
This decision is contrary to the letter and spirit of the cooperation which prevailed between 🇫🇷 and #Australia.
— France Diplomacy🇫🇷 (@francediplo_EN) September 16, 2021
“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 French foreign minister said.
French Foreign Minister on the new AUKUS partnership: "This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do. I am angry and bitter." And, yes, it means Australia cancels its sub deal with France.
— Paul Waldie (@pwaldieGLOBE) September 16, 2021
A White House official said the United States regretted the French decision and said Washington had been in close touch with France over it. The official said the United States would be engaged in the coming days to resolve differences with France.