France sees NATO relationship burdened by submarine dispute

Paris, Canberra France views the relationship within NATO as strained over the dispute over a failed submarine deal with Australia. “The strength of the alliance with the United States must also be questioned,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Saturday night on France 2.

“In a royal alliance it is spoken and respected, that was not the case.” What happened is a burden on NATO’s new strategic concept. Le Drian spoke of lies and breach of trust. “That doesn’t work at all, that means there is a crisis.”

The French ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault, had previously described the surprising rejection of the purchase of the submarine as a “big mistake”. That was “a very, very bad way to deal with the association,” Thébault said in Canberra on Saturday.

The agreement between the two countries must be based “on trust, mutual understanding and honesty,” he said. He learned from the Australian press that the deal, which had been hailed as the “deal of the century” in France, had collapsed.

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On Thursday, Australia, Britain and the United States announced an Indo-Pacific security pact. Among other things, it envisions Australia building nuclear-powered submarines using technology from the two partners.

This meant that the delivery of conventional submarines with a volume of 40 billion dollars agreed with the French shipping company Naval in 2016 was obsolete. Annoyed by the cancellation, France called the Canberra and Washington ambassadors for consultations.

France withdraws US and Australian ambassadors

Foreign Minister Le Drian called on Europe to work together to better defend its interests after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and the submarine dispute. “If Europeans do not realize that if they want to remain part of history they have to come together and defend their interests together, then their fate will be completely different and we cannot go in this harmful direction.”

Meanwhile, France and the United States are trying to negotiate. The government of US President Joe Biden is in close contact with French authorities due to the withdrawal of the French ambassador to the United States, said a spokeswoman for the US National Security Council, Emily Horne. “We understand your point of view,” Horne said. The United States would do its best to put differences aside.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to speak with US President Joe Biden. A phone call is planned in the coming days, he said Sunday from the Elysee Palace in Paris. The date and time have not yet been determined.

Emphasize Australia and Great Britain Against own interests. “Global Britain flies its flag on the world stage,” wrote London’s new Defense Minister Liz Truss in an article in the “Sunday Telegraph.” The new pact with the United States and Australia shows the will to resolutely defend their own interests.

It’s about more than abstract foreign policy, Truss explained. It is about achieving something for the people of Britain “by working with like-minded countries to form coalitions based on common values ​​and interests.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared: “Australia, like any sovereign country, must always make decisions that benefit our own sovereign national defense.”

Plus: Controversial submarine deal shows how easily Europe can be bypassed in the great power struggle

Vince Fernandez

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