Paris recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for consultations. An unprecedented diplomatic move that escalates tensions between countries. “This is a stab in the back,” the French foreign minister said.
At the request of the President of the Republic (Emmanuel Macron), I immediately decided to recall our ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations. “This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the statements made by Australia and the United States on September 15,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
The reason is Australia’s decision to cancel a huge deal to buy submarines from the French. This contract was signed in 2016 and included more than 76 billion euros. Instead, Canberra is now turning to the Americans for nuclear-powered submarines.
Recalling ambassadors is a serious diplomatic move that countries usually use only against countries with whom they completely disagree. Thus, France makes clear that it considers the actions of Australia and the United States a serious breach of trust. “A stab in the back,” Le Drian called it.
The US-Australian deal is not just a financial blow to Emmanuel Macron. French diplomacy has spent years working with Australia to strengthen its strategic presence in the region. With New Caledonia and French Polynesia, France has over two million civilians living there and 7,000 military personnel stationed there.
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