US President Joe Biden (R) and French President Emmanuel Macron (L) hold talks ahead of the NATO summit at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels on June 14, 2021.
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LONDON – The United States and the United Kingdom have described Paris as a “stab in the back” as they seek to ease tensions with France following an agreement with Australia.
US President Joe Biden on Sunday called on French President Emmanuel Macron to call. A spokesman for the French presidency said Monday that the call would be made in the coming days and that Macron wanted to get some “explanation”.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said he was “extremely proud” of his country’s relations with France and “our love for France is indomitable.”
It comes after news last week that Australia was canceling a submarine deal with France and was instead buying new technology from the United States in collaboration with the United Kingdom.
Under the new arrangement, Australia will look to acquire nuclear-powered submarines instead of conventional ones যা which some experts have described as an attempt by the United States to increase its position against China in the Indo-Pacific region.
The agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, known as the AUKUS, has sharply criticized Beijing, calling it “extremely irresponsible.”
‘There was a lie … a big breach of trust’
France has not backed down from news of the deal and has withdrawn its ambassadors from the United States and Australia.
“There have been lies, there has been duplicity, there has been a big breach of trust, there has been humiliation. So it’s not right between us, it’s not right at all. It means there is a crisis,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told Info France 2 on Saturday.
“We have remembered our ambassadors and tried to understand and show our deep resentment to these former partner countries. But, if they are here, we will have the opportunity to re-evaluate our position to protect our interests in both Australia and the United States,” the minister added.
Le Dryen added that there was no date for the return of the two ambassadors. France has also canceled a meeting scheduled between Paris and London this week.
A spokesman for the French presidency said on Monday that the original agreement between Paris and Canberra included “compensation”, but did not disclose any price. When Australia signed an agreement with France in 2011, the cost of the submarine was 400 billion.
Diplomatic innocence in Europe
“By escalating the controversy, Macron hopes to win a large chunk of French internal opinion; Macron also hopes that other EU countries will understand that they must now take sides, not pointing to European defense and industrial strategy forever,” the consultancy said. Director Mujtaba Rahman said in a note on Saturday.
These issues are particularly important for Macron because France is preparing for the presidential election in April. The country will take the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in January, leading talks at the EU level.
“I think Europe is coming out of diplomatic innocence,” said Le Drian, France’s foreign affairs chief.
In fact, Joseph Borel, who is the head of the EU The Foreign Affairs Portfolio, in response to the announcement, said: “We must live as we do, as others do.”
Australia is not sorry for his decision
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended his decision and denied lying to France.
“In the end, there was a decision that these submarines were being built at a high cost to the Australian taxpayer, that we would be able to do what we needed for the service, and based on our strategic decision, intelligence and defense advice had the best chance that it would not.” Morrison said on Sunday, according to the BBC.