French envoy brands Australia ‘childish’ over submarine row
Australia: 'No sympathy' for France submarine deal says host
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Speaking of the privacy of the so-called AUKUS deal, Jean-Pierre Thebault told ABC radio on Friday: “It’s childish to say that it was impossible to consult France on the deal.” Following the massive fallout out caused by the French losing a multi-billion dollar deal to sell conventional submarines to Australia, in favour of US nuclear submarines, the diplomatic tension is now starting to mellow.
The United States who along with the United Kingdom clinched the deal from under French noses have acknowledged the French reaction and said things could have been done more efficiently.
“They have officially stated things should have been done differently. There should have been consultations,” Mr Thebault said.
With His Excellency the Ambassador soon on his way to Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the diplomat’s upcoming return to his mission.
Mr Morrison claimed that the important bi-lateral socio-political and economic relationship between Australia and France is “bigger than a contract”, and that in spite of the differences, both nations are closely aligned on a series of other issues.
There was no sign that Mr Thebault was ready to reciprocate the warm welcome back by the PM.
In fact, appearing to have received new instructions from Paris, and a still seething Emmanuel Macron, the ambassador had more to say on the issue.
“Cancelling all that without any warning, without any previous discussion, without the minimum decency of talking with your ally is creating a deep crisis,” said the senior diplomat.
He went on to say: “I have clear instructions, strong instructions, and we’ll have to revise everything.”
France reacted in the strongest diplomatic terms protocol allows when the deal was announced, calling the deal a ‘stab in the back’, going as far as condemning the three nations involved.
Along with the ambassador to Australia being recalled, France also recalled their head of mission to Washington DC.
The French ambassador to the UK however remained in London, having not been recalled, with France calling the British role in the deal as an unimportant or junior partner in the agreement, itself, open and frank terminology on a diplomatic scale.
The United States, although having made no promised or signs of changing the deal, which will bring in billions of dollars to the US economy, has tried to appease the French by reiterating the importance of the friendship between the two nations.
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Emmanuel Macron also attempted to punish Australia further by threatening to block an EU-Australia trade deal, which should be proven successful, could cost the EU around 37 billion euros, forcing other nations to wade into the argument.
The French have now taken steps to reconsider their role in the industrial-military complex, having since the deal, attempting to promote ‘France PLC’ as a credible and worthy arms dealer.
The AUKUS deal is alleged to have been a measure taken to cause a deterrence to the strengthening of Chinese influence and presence in the Indo-Pacific region, with China and Russia both condemning the move, causing a surge in show of force in the region to add further layers to the deterrent theory.
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