The French government has immediately recalled its ambassador to the US for consultation in response to the recently announced national security partnership with the United Kingdom and Australia. Philippe Étienne, the French ambassador to the US, confirmed the news when reached for comment.
In a statement, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, said Friday that the move was made at the request of President Emmanuel Macron. “This extraordinary decision reflects the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” Le Drian said.
USA Today reports:
The decision follows an announcement on Wednesday that the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom are entering into a new partnership that will allow the three countries to share artificial intelligence, undersea capabilities and other advanced technologies.
Part of the agreement, which is meant to counter growing Chinese military aggression in the Indo-Pacific, will involve the United States helping Australia develop a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
In light of its deal with the U.S., Australia has cancelled a submarine contract it had with the French, which various media reports have estimated to be worth between $50 billion and $90 billion. One Australian outlet had dubbed it the “contract of the century.”
France says it is immediately recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after Australia scrapped a big French conventional submarine purchase in favor of nuclear subs built with U.S. technology. https://t.co/azmYBUkywX
— ABC News (@ABC) September 17, 2021