France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia in response to a pact signed by the two countries, along with the United Kingdom, that the French called a “stab in the back.”
“At the request of President Macron, I have decided to immediately recall our ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations,” said Jean-Yves Le Drain, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in a statement Friday.
France has expressed disappointment following the announcement this week of a pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States that will provide nuclear submarines to Australia and scrap an earlier agreement to send French-made submarines to Australia.
“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 behaviour 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,” the statement read partly.
Earlier in the week, Le Drain told a French radio station that the pact, known as AUKUS and widely perceived as a challenge to China’s presence in the region, was a “stab in the back” and that France had been “betrayed.”
Le Drain also compared President Biden to former President Trump.
“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do,” Le Drian said. “I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.”
Earlier this week, Le Drain told a French radio station that the AUKUS treaty, widely seen as a challenge to China’s presence in the region, was a “stab in the back” and that France had been “betrayed.”
Le Drain also made a comparison between President Biden and former President Trump.
“This brutal, unilateral, and erratic decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do,” Le Drian said. “I’m enraged and bitter. This is not done among allies.”
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, denied that the move had created a “regional divide” and stated that France was informed of the agreement prior to its announcement.
According to a White House official, the Biden administration “regrets” France’s decision but “will continue to engage in the coming days to resolve our differences.”