The chief of the French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, evoked this Saturday the “serious crisis” caused by the torpedoing of a mega-contract of French submarines in Canberra. Asked about France 2, the minister denounced a “lie (…), a duplicity (…), a major breach of confidence” and a “contempt” on the part of the allies of France.
“We do not deal with such brutality, such unpredictability, a major partner that is France”, asserted Jean-Yves Le Drian, who believes that Joe Biden’s method is the same as that of Donald Trump “without tweets ”.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs thus justified the recall of the French ambassadors in Canberra and Washington by the fact that “there is a serious crisis between us”. This measure, the first in the history of relations between Paris and Washington, “is very symbolic,” he said. “We have called back our ambassadors to try to understand and to show our former partner countries that we have very strong dissatisfaction. “
The recall of the French ambassador to London was, however, deemed unnecessary: ”we know their permanent opportunism”, he quipped a few months after Brexit. “Great Britain in this case is a bit like the fifth wheel of the coach. “
Definition of NATO’s new strategic concept
The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom announced on Wednesday a strategic partnership to counter China, Aukus, including the supply of American nuclear-powered submarines to Canberra which effectively took the French out of the game. France had signed in 2016 a contract of 90 billion Australian dollars (56 billion euros) for the supply to Australia of 12 submarines with diesel propulsion, often qualified of “contract of century” because of its scale and of its strategic scope.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also ruled that the crisis would weigh on the definition of NATO’s new strategic concept, without however evoking any exit from the Atlantic alliance. “NATO has initiated a reflection, at the request of the President of the Republic, on its fundamentals. At the next NATO summit in Madrid, there will be the culmination of the new strategic concept. Obviously, what just happened will have to do with this definition, ”said Le Drian.
“But at the same time, Europe must equip itself with its strategic compass and this will be under the responsibility of France in the first half of 2022”, he added, referring to the French presidency of the European Union in January 1st.
After the brutal withdrawal of the Americans from Afghanistan, without consultation with its allies, and this submarine issue, “if the Europeans do not feel that in order to remain in history, they must unite and defend together their own interests, so their fate will be totally different, ”insisted Jean-Yves Le Drian.
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