In a new escalation against the backdrop of Australia canceling a huge contract to buy submarines from Paris, On Friday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that his country had recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for consultations due to the “exceptional danger” of declaring the strategic partnership between Washington, London and Canberra.
“At the request of the President of the Republic, I have decided to immediately summon to Paris to consult our ambassadors to the United States and Australia. This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of what Australia and the United States announced on September 15,” he said in a statement.
Committed to resolving disputes
For its part, the White House expressed its regret over France’s decision to recall Washington’s ambassador, and said, “We are in contact with our French partners regarding this decision,” stressing the United States’ commitment to resolving differences with France in the coming days.
Earlier in the day, France said it was unable to trust Australia in ongoing talks on a trade deal with the European Union after Canberra abandoned a deal to buy French submarines in favor of US submarines.
Paris, which described the Australian decision as a “stab in the back” seemed to hint that the move could affect trade talks in the broadest sense.
French submarines (archive – AFP)
On the other hand, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs today expressed her country’s understanding of France’s “disappointment” after its decision to abandon the purchase of submarines from it, stressing the desire to continue working with Paris.
“I totally understand the disappointment,” said Maris Payne of Washington. “There is no doubt that these are very difficult issues to address.”
“But we will continue to work constructively and closely with our colleagues in France,” she added, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute.
“We are in trade negotiations with Australia. I don’t know how we can trust our Australian partners,” Minister of State for European Affairs Clement Bonn told France 24 news channel.
The next round of talks, covering areas including trade, services, investment and intellectual property rights, is scheduled for the fall of this year.
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