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France cancels defense meeting with Britain over submarine crisis

France cancels defense meeting with Britain over submarine crisis

On Sunday, two well-informed sources said that France canceled a meeting between its Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and her British counterpart, which was scheduled to take place this week, after Australia canceled an order for submarines from Paris for an agreement with Washington and London.

The two sources confirmed an earlier report in the British newspaper, The Guardian, that the meeting had been canceled, quoting Reuters.

Commenting on France’s decision, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed, on Sunday, the “extremely important” relationship between his country and France, in the face of Paris’ anger over the announcement of a strategic partnership between the United States, Australia and Britain, which includes supplying American submarines to Canberra.

Johnson told reporters on a plane taking him to New York that London and Paris have a “very friendly” and “very important” relationship, stressing that “Britain’s love for France” is well-established, according to the British Press Association.

And earlier, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced, on Sunday, that US President Joe Biden asked to speak to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron after Australia canceled a submarine deal with France in favor of the United States, noting that “a phone call will take place (between them) in the coming days.” “.

“We want explanations about what appears to be a major undermining of confidence,” the spokesman told BMFTTV, after France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia on Friday in response to Canberra’s decision.

On Saturday, France accused Australia and the United States of “lying and duplicity”, while Britain considered it “opportunistic” against the background of Canberra canceling a huge contract with Paris to receive submarines from it, considering that what happened represented a “serious crisis” between the allies.

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On Friday, French President Macron ordered the recall of his country’s ambassadors in Canberra and Washington, in an unprecedented move to express his anger over Australia’s decision to cancel a huge deal to obtain nuclear-powered submarines from France and replace them with American ones.

This disagreement thwarts hopes that relations between Paris and Washington can be improved during the era of US President Biden, at a time when French interest is focused on strengthening the security strategy of the European Union and thinking about defining the new strategic concept of NATO.