France has recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia to protest a security arrangement that includes the UK. The “extraordinary decision” was justified by the “exceptional gravity” of the circumstance. The alliance, Aukus, will provide Australia with nuclear submarine technology. This scuppered a multi-billion dollar deal France had inked with Australia.
To offset China’s influence in the disputed South China Sea. US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian PM Scott Morrison announced it on Wednesday. France was notified about the arrangement mere hours before it was made public.
The ambassadors were recalled at the request of President Emmanuel Macron, said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian late Friday.
The agreement “constitute[s] unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners whose consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe,” Mr Le Drian added.
An administration official said the Biden administration regretted the move and would work with France to rectify the issue.
Ms Payne said she understood France’s “disappointment” and sought to engage with it to ensure it knew “the value we place on the bilateral relationship.”
It is believed to be the first time France has recalled envoys from both countries. French diplomats in Washington had already cancelled a Friday gala to highlight US-French relations.