France’s Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said in a statement on Friday that the move was taken at the request of President Emmanuel Macron.
“This extraordinary decision reflects the extraordinary seriousness of the announcements made by Australia and the United States on 15 September,” Le Drian said. “The abandonment of the ocean-class submarine project on which Australia and France had been working since 2016 and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States aimed at studying the possibility of future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines between allies.” It is unacceptable behavior. Partners; their consequences affect our alliances, our partnership and the concept of the importance of the Indo-Pacific to Europe.”
This is believed to be the first time the French have resorted to such a move in modern times, a French official told CNN.
The White House said the US is in contact with the French government regarding the decision to recall its envoy to Washington for consultations in Paris.
“We are in close contact with our French partners on our decision to recall Ambassador tienne to Paris for consultation. We understand their position and will continue to work to resolve our differences in the coming days, as we France is our oldest ally and one of our strongest partners, and we share a long history of shared democratic values and a desire to work together to address global challenges. share the commitment,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said in a statement.
The French government said earlier this week that when Australia pulled out of its current multi-billion dollar defense deal, it would acquire nuclear-powered submarines through a new deal with the United States and the United Kingdom. Instead of agreeing.
Efforts to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines – a major step toward countering China as President Joe Biden works to build international support for its approach to Beijing – USA, Australia and is part of a new trilateral partnership between the United States. Kingdom, called “Ocus”.
France stands to lose the equivalent of US$65 billion from the current deal to provide Australia with conventional, diesel-powered submarines.
The canceled deal with France, a major global arms exporter, is expected to have a significant economic impact on the French defense sector. France also stands to lose strategically in the Indo-Pacific, where the country has vital interests.
On Thursday, Australia formally announced it would withdraw from its previous contract for conventional submarines with France, following the announcement of nuclear-powered submarine deals with the US and Britain.
Work on the deal with Paris was going on for years.
Australia had previously planned to acquire 12 conventional assault-class submarines from French shipbuilder Naval Group, which successfully defeated competing German and Japanese bids in 2016.
A senior administration official also said that top US officials had communicated with their counterparts in France about the new agreement before and after the announcement. “I will leave it to our Australian partners to explain why they sought this new technology,” the official said.
Australia’s Defense Minister Peter Dutton told a news conference on Thursday that France’s decision to choose a US nuclear-powered submarine over a conventional diesel submarine is “in the best interest of our national security.”
Biden’s attempt to thread the needle of European diplomacy and navigate a post-Brexit world has left some loyal allies who suggest that Biden’s actions have ignored the needs of him or that of his pre-nationalist predecessor, In line with former President Donald Trump.
Before recalling the French ambassador, Le Drian responded to the deal, sternly calling for the US, saying “this brutal and one-sided decision looks a lot like Trump’s.”
Biden is due to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the White House next week, two officials confirmed to CNN on Thursday. And many foreign leaders are expected to travel to the US next week for the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, but many leaders visiting the US for the assembly are still waiting to hear if they will have a session with the president. .
This story has been updated with additional details on Friday.
CNN’s Arlett Sainz, Kevin Liptak and Donald Judd contributed to this report.