France recalls US, Australia ambassadors over submarines row

France recalls ambassadors from US, Australia over submarines row
2 min read
17 September, 2021
French foreign minister Jean Yves Le Drian said the decision was made to immediately recall the two French ambassadors due to 'the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States'.
Announcement of a new Australia-US-Britain defence alliance has angered France [Getty]

France has recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultation, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced Friday, after Canberra ditched a deal to buy French submarines in favour of US vessels.

Le Drian said in a statement that the decision was made to immediately recall the two French ambassadors due to "the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States".

US President Joe Biden announced the new Australia-US-Britain defence alliance on Wednesday, extending US nuclear submarine technology to Australia as well as cyber defence, applied artificial intelligence, and undersea capabilities.

The move infuriated France, which lost a contract to supply conventional submarines to Australia that was worth 36.5 billion US dollars when signed in 2016.

The French ambassador recalls from the United States and Australia, key allies of France, are unprecedented.

France on Thursday accused Australia of back-stabbing and Washington of Donald Trump-era behaviour over the submarines deal.

"It's really a stab in the back," Le Drian said Thursday. "We had established a relationship of trust with Australia, this trust has been betrayed".

France has also called off a gala at its ambassador's house in Washington scheduled for Friday.

The event was supposed to celebrate the anniversary of a decisive naval battle in the American Revolution, in which France played a key role.