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France 'stabbed in back' by Australia over submarine deal, says minister

AFP
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France 'stabbed in back' by Australia over submarine deal, says minister
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart in Qatar's capital Doha, on September 13, 2021. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)

France's foreign minister expressed his anger on Thursday over Australia's surprise decision to scrap a huge submarines deal in favour of nuclear-powered subs from the US.

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"It's really a stab in the back. We had established a relationship of trust with Australia, this trust has been betrayed," Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info radio.

"I'm very angry today, and bitter... This is not something allies do to each other," he said.

"This sudden and unforeseeable decision very much recalls what Mr Trump would do," Le Drian added, referring to the previous US president Donald Trump.

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US President Joe Biden announced Wednesday a new defence pact with Australia and Britain that would see Canberra get a nuclear-powered submarine fleet, a privilege reserved for few American allies.

The move underscore increasing concerns about China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region, where France is also looking to protect its interests that include the overseas territories of New Caledonia.

Defence Minister Florence Parly on Thursday called Australia's about-face "very bad news with regards to keeping one's word," while adding that France is "clear-eyed as to how the United States treats its allies."

"In terms of geopolitics and international relations, it's serious," she told RFI radio.

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nancykittle 2021/09/17 10:13
Most of my fellow Americans are not aware of the deep seated relationship between France and the United States. Without financial and military assistance from France the American Revolutionary War would not have succeeded. We Americans owe our very existence to past french governments!
nancykittle 2021/09/17 08:49
Giving one’s word in a business deal and then abruptly going back on it is a lesson in survival for the most resilient and best prepared. As a retired American twenty year expatriate in France , I encourage my adopted country to move toward increased autonomy from the United States. The whole point of the European Union is to provide economic and military independence for its members. Let’s not let anything interfere with that goal!
  • stuart.laing 2021/09/17 09:25
    It was never the point of the EU to be a military alliance. Not least because they have no common foreign policy , 4 of its members are neutral, and 7 of its members were part of the Soviet bloc not so long ago.
  • nancykittle 2021/09/17 09:10
    I should add that not having a back up plan ready in the event of disaster is not being fully prepared! Michael Kittle Vaison la Romaine France
stuart.laing 2021/09/16 10:37
I think one of the problems here was that what the French called 'the contract of the century' looked like it was going to take a century to deliver. I can see why the French feel let down though as there must have been a lot of Australian/ US/UK double-talk and double dealing going on in the last few months. Maybe, however, Australia felt emboldened to act that way when the EU confiscated their vaccines. Just a thought.
  • wadams 2021/09/16 15:53
    Sounds like a new geo-political alliance is forming. US - Aus - UK. Could call it the Fox/Murdoch-media-market Alliance.

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