Still seething, French diplomats continue to harangue Washington and Australia over the new landmark defense pact which will center on the US sharing nuclear submarine technology with Australia, which led to the immediate cancelation by Canberra of a major contract for submarines worth over $60 billion (with some estimates putting the total deal struck in 2016 at $90BN).
As we detailed earlier, on Friday France recalled its ambassadors to both countries in protest, in a move widely being described as the first time in history Paris pulled its ambassador to Washington in anger. Meanwhile on Saturday France's ambassador to Australia rebuked the country for its "huge mistake".
Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault said trust and integrity have been broken. "This has been a huge mistake, a very, very bad handling of the partnership," The Associated Press reports.
"I would like to be able to run into a time machine and be in a situation where we don’t end up in such an incredible, clumsy, inadequate, un-Australian situation," Thebault added.
The initial French sub contract with Australia, which had been first agreed to in 2016, was for France to build 12 conventionally powered submarines modelled on Barracuda nuclear-powered subs. Negotiations had long been tense, particularly after rising costs and significant production delays on the French side.
The new 'AUKUS' deal with the United States officially announced Thursday will see Australia acquire at least eight nuclear submarines, allowing it to join a tiny number of countries globally who deploy nuclear-powered subs, in a moved being seen as aimed at countering China's growing power in the Indo-Pacific.
If this happened under Trump, the liberal media would have been up in arms. Imagine. https://t.co/e4j2Oj3ept— asad abukhalil أسعد أبو خليل (@asadabukhalil) September 18, 2021
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said at the end of this week of which has seen France continue to lash out: "Australia understands France’s deep disappointment with our decision, which was taken in accordance with our clear and communicated national security interests."
French FM Le Drian earlier described Australia's scrapping deal "a stab in the back" and warned that trust has been broken between the two trading partners.