Calling American and Australian behavior “unacceptable between allies and partners,” France announced on Friday that it was recalling its ambassadors to both countries in protest over President Biden’s decision to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.
President Emmanuel Macron made the exceptional decision due to the “gravity of the announcements on September 15 by Australia and the United States”, said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in a statement quoted by France 24 on Saturday.
The rare diplomatic backlash against France’s allies came two days after Australia announced the scrapping of a major purchase of French conventional submarines in favour of US nuclear-powered submarines.
The announcement represented “unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners”, said the statement.
Australia in 2016 had chosen France’s Naval Group, partly owned by the state, to build 12 conventionally powered submarines, based on France’s Barracuda nuclear-powered subs in development.
The contract was worth around 50 billion Australian dollars (€31 billion, $36.5 billion) when announced in 2016.
But on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden, along with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announced a new US security alliance between their countries that would develop an Australian nuclear-powered submarine fleet.
The Australia-UK-US alliance – dubbed AUKUS – has been strongly condemned by France, with Le Drian calling it “a stab in the back”.
The United States on Friday reiterated that France was a ‘vital ally’. / Compiled by argumentum.al