France humiliated by Western allies after US, UK submarine deal with Australia

2021-09-21 14:37:24
France humiliated by Western allies after US, UK submarine deal with Australia

France canceled meetings with British and Australian officials and is trying to rally European allies behind its push for more EU sovereignty after being humiliated by a major military deal orchestrated by the US with Australia and Britain.

France’s top diplomat declared Monday that there is a “crisis of trust” in the United States after a Pacific defense deal stung France and left Europe wondering about its longtime ally across the Atlantic Ocean.

Speaking to reporters in New York, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reiterated complaints that his country was sandbagged by the submarine deal between the US, Britain and Australia, which led to France losing a contract to sell subs to Australia.

Le Drian, who is in New York to represent France at the UN General Assembly, said it was a “brutal, unexpected and unexplained breach” of a contract – and a relationship.

Germany joined France on Tuesday in berating the United States for negotiating the military pact in secret. German European affairs minister Michael Roth, said Washington, London and Canberra had damaged trust between allies that would be difficult to rebuild.

The US, Australia and Britain insisted that the diplomatic crisis wouldn’t affect their longer-term relations with France, even after Paris recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia for the first time in history because of the deal.

The submarine deal, known as AUKUS, will see Australia cancel a contract to buy diesel-electric French submarines and instead acquire nuclear-powered vessels from the US. The deal is seen as an effort to counter an increasingly assertive China.

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