The crisis continues between France, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A few days after the announcement of a strategic partnership including the supply of American submarines to Canberra which effectively took the French out of the game, a meeting scheduled this week between the French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly and her British counterpart Ben Wallace was canceled at the request of Paris, AFP learned on Sunday (September 19) from a source at the French ministry.
The “Meeting scheduled this week in London […] will not take place on French cancellation », said this source.
In London, a source at the Ministry of Defense assured that he could neither deny nor confirm this cancellation. “The United Kingdom remains in conversation with its French counterpart on these meetings. We continue to have a close and fruitful defense relationship with France, which remains a trusted ally ”, she clarified.
Submarine affair: Joe Biden, the dream and the affront to France
In 2016, France signed a contract worth 90 billion Australian dollars (56 billion euros) for the supply to Australia of 12 diesel-powered submarines, often described as “Century contract” because of its scale and strategic reach.
English “ineradicable” love for Paris
The submarine issue caused an unprecedented diplomatic earthquake between France and its three other allies. The head of the French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian had evoked Saturday a “serious crisis”, denouncing a ” lie […], a duplicity […], a major breach of trust ” and one “Contempt” from these three countries with regard to Paris.
He had also directly scratched Britain, deeming it unnecessary to recall his ambassador to London as he had done with those in Washington and Canberra. “We know their permanent opportunism”, he quipped a few months after Brexit. “Great Britain in this case is all the same a bit like the fifth wheel of the coach. “
Submarines: in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the press divided between pragmatism and global strategy
On Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wished to underline for his part the“Immense importance” of the relationship between UK and France, and love “Ineradicable” from London to Paris, to journalists from the Press Association.
“This partnership is in no way intended to be a zero sum, it is not intended to be exclusive”, said Boris Johnson, “It is not something that anyone has to worry about and in particular not our French friends”.
An exchange planned between Macron and Biden
The American president should also soon try to ease tensions with France.
“President Biden asked to speak to the President of the Republic [Emmanuel Macron] and there will be a telephone exchange in the next few days ”French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Sunday.
“We want explanations” on what “Is akin to a major breach of trust”, and also know “How they intend to get out of this contract”, with some “Compensations” the key, he said on the television channel BFMTV.
Submarine crisis: Australia had “serious reservations”
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For his part, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected French accusations of duplicity on Sunday. “I don’t regret the decision to put Australia’s national interest first. I will never regret it ”, he added, stating that he would have been “Careless” to go ahead against the advice of the Australian Defense and Intelligence Services.