France recalls its ambassadors to U.S., Australia over submarine dispute

France recalls its ambassadors to U.S., Australia over submarine dispute

France announced on Friday that it is recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after the longtime ally that felt its Indo-Pacific interests had been undermined by a new agreement made by the Biden administration on nuclear submarines.

“At the request of the President of the Republic, I am recalling to Paris without delay our ambassadors to the United States and to Australia for consultations,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French minister for Europe and foreign affairs, in a statement.

“This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15th September by Australia and the United States.”

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced a security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom.

One of the first U.S. moves as part of the agreement will be to assist Australia with the purchase of nuclear submarines, which offer more stealth capabilities, speed and range than traditional submarines, he said. Just a handful of countries, including China and Russia, have nuclear-powered submarines.

The minister said that this new pact was an affront to France’s agreement with Australia.

“The cancellation of the Attack class submarine program binding Australia and France since 2016, and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States meant to launch studies on a possible future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines, constitute unacceptable behavior between allies and partners, whose consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe,” the French foreign minister said.

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