French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered that the nation’s ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia be recalled after the two countries signed a deal that will provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
“At the request of President Macron, I have decided to immediately recall our ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations,” Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, said in a statement. “This extraordinary decision reflects the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States.”
The statement added, “The abandonment of the ocean-class submarine project that Australia and France had been working on 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 constitute unacceptable behavior among allies and partners; their consequences affect the very concept we have of our alliances, our partnerships, and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe.”
France is recalling its ambassador to the US. White House has not yet responded with a public statement. pic.twitter.com/5mNTWHNpH0
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) September 17, 2021
The New York Times reported that this is “the first time in the history of the long alliance between France and the United States, dating back to 1778, that a French ambassador has been recalled to Paris in this way for consultations.”
Australia, immediately before signing the deal with the U.S. and the U.K, canceled a $66 billion agreement to purchase French-built submarines, which were not nuclear powered.
Australia also announced that it would get U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles as part of the new alliance with the U.K. and the U.S.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “We will be enhancing our long-range strike capability, including Tomahawk cruise missiles to be fielded on the Royal Australian Navy Hobart-class destroyers and joint air-to-surface stand-off missiles extended range for our Royal Australian Air Force capabilities.”
Le Drian initially reacted to the news earlier in the week by saying that France had been betrayed by the Biden administration.
“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told franceinfo radio, according to Reuters. “I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.”
“It’s a stab in the back. We created a relationship of trust with Australia and that trust has been broken,” Le Drian added.