Boris Johnson Says UK Relations With France “Indestructible” Despite UK-US Military Pact Dispute | Political news

Boris Johnson said the UK’s relations with France were “indestructible” despite the consequences of the new military pact with the US and Australia.

The prime minister said that the “AUKUS” initiative was not “exclusive” after the French decision. Defense Minister canceled talks with his British counterpart on Australia’s withdrawal from a major contract with France for submarines in favor of the nuclear-powered shipbuilding pact with the United Kingdom and the United States.

Negotiated last week, the deal ended a £ 27bn deal with France signed by Australia in 2016 to build 12 diesel-powered submarines.

Macron and Joe Biden were seen chatting up close at the G7 in June

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described it as a “stab in the back” constituting “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners.”

But Johnson told reporters in New York: “ The UK and France have a very, very important and indestructible relationship and of course we will discuss with all our friends how to make the AUKUS pact work, which is not exclusive, not it is ”. dividing and it really doesn’t have to be that way.

“It is simply the way the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia share certain technologies because it is the right thing to do in the world we find ourselves in.

“This in no way means that we want to be antagonistic to another person or exclusive or expel another person. “

He added that the UK’s relations with France are “incredibly important, it is historic” and stressed that the two countries are working together “shoulder to shoulder” to fight terrorism in the African Sahel region and as part of the mission. of NATO in the Baltic countries. to deter the Russians. aggression.

“There is another country in the world with which we share a nuclear test simulation program, which country is that? It’s France, ”he said.

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“The AUKUS alliance will bring us closer than ever”

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has also tried to downplay suggestions for a breakout after his French counterpart Florence Parly postponed a bilateral meeting with him.

Wallace told the House of Commons that Australia had exercised its “right to choose” but said the United States and France are “our closest allies” and said he had an “extremely close relationship” with Ms Parly and that “We talk regularly.” .

French President Emmanuel Macron is notably absent from the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, but is expected to speak with US President Joe Biden by phone in the coming days, an official said. .

France has remembered its ambassadors from the United States and Australia as a sign of the seriousness of the crisis, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs having met on Sunday with the two ambassadors to discuss “the strategic consequences of the current crisis,” said the minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said France “would have had every reason to know that we have deep and serious concerns” about the capabilities of French Attack-class submarines, which, according to him, may not satisfy strategic interests. from Australia.

Vince Fernandez

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