PARIS – France has recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia in response to the strategic partnership with the United Kingdom which replaced a multibillion-euro submarine contract that Paris had signed with Canberra.
“At the request of the President of the Republic, I decided to immediately recall our ambassadors in the United States and Australia for consultation,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
“This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” the statement continued.
The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom on Wednesday announced a landmark pact that would allow cooperation on military technology, but which also saw Australia abandon a deal worth more than $ 50 billion. euros with the French naval group to build a fleet of submarines, a move Le Drian called “stab in the back.”
Even though it was Australia that canceled the contract, most of the French ire was directed against the United States.
“The American choice to dismiss an ally and a European partner like France … shows a lack of coherence that France can only note and regret”, according to a joint statement by Defense Minister Florence Parly and Le Drian who was France’s first official response to the announcement.
The French Embassy in Washington also canceled in protest a reception it was hosting on Friday to mark the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Chesapeake, which commemorates a French naval victory over a British fleet during the American Revolution.
Le Drian will be in New York on Monday to attend the United Nations General Assembly.