France recalls U.S. and Australia envoys to protest submarine deal

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Geopolitical update

France recalled its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations to protest the new Security Protocol According to the bill, Australia will purchase nuclear-powered submarines from the United States and cancel existing contracts with Paris.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian issued a statement on Friday night saying that he had been told by President Emmanuel Macron to protest.

So-called Aukus transaction He said that Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States “constitute unacceptable behavior among allies and partners, the consequences of which touch the fundamental foundation of our alliance and partnership and the importance of the Indo-Pacific region to Europe.”

France is particularly angry at being excluded from the agreement because it has close military cooperation with each of the three countries participating in the new strategic arrangement, including counter-terrorism operations in the African Sahel and Afghanistan.

Macron has also taken the lead in pushing the European Union to do more for its own defense by promoting “strategic autonomy”, and has worked hard to prove to Australia and the United States that France is a power in the Pacific region. It has island territory there, including French Polynesia, across the vast ocean, and nearly 2 million citizens and 7,000 soldiers.

“We have been in close contact with our French partners regarding their decision to recall the ambassador [Philippe] Etienne went to Paris for consultations. Although we regret that they have taken this step, we will continue to work on resolving our differences in the coming days, as we have done in other areas during the long-term alliance,” a White House official said on Friday .

“France is our oldest ally and one of our strongest partners. We have a long history, democratic values ​​and a commitment to jointly tackle global challenges.”

The withdrawal of an ambassador is a very unusual protest among allies, usually only used to oppose countries that are deemed to have taken hostile or unacceptable actions to influence the country that made the protest.

Le Drian said: “The statements made by Australia and the United States on September 15 are very serious, so this particular decision is reasonable.”

The Aukus Agreement, announced by US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, aims to strengthen defense cooperation in the face of China’s rise.

The leaders of the U.S. and the U.K. have Trying to appease France expressed concern about the impact of this transaction and assured Paris of its continued importance as an ally.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said on Thursday: “We have worked very closely with France on many common priorities in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. We will continue to do so. We attach great importance to this relationship. Partnerships.”

However, one complaint from France was about the complete lack of negotiation before Aukus’ unexpected announcement.Just as Biden did not notify France, Britain, and other allies, the United States decided to take action Withdraw all troops Coming from Afghanistan-which triggered the initial chaotic evacuation from Kabul Airport-so he and Morrison kept France ignorant of Orcus until the news began to leak on the day of the announcement.

The White House did not notify France until after it informed the media in Washington.

Australia expressed its understanding of France’s disappointment, but will continue to work closely with the country.

Additional reporting by James Politi in Washington

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