France recalls ambassadors from US, Australia over submarines row
France has recalled its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia for consultation, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on Sept. 17, after Canberra ditched a deal to buy French submarines in favor of U.S. vessels.
Le Drian said in a statement that the decision was made to immediately recall the two French ambassadors due to "the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States".
U.S. President Joe Biden announced the new Australia-U.S.-Britain defence alliance on Wednesday, extending U.S. nuclear submarine technology to Australia as well as cyber defence, applied artificial intelligence and undersea capabilities.
The move infuriated France, which lost a contract to supply conventional submarines to Australia that was worth Aus$50 billion (31 billion euros, $36.5 billion) when signed in 2016.
The French ambassador recalls from the United States and Australia, key allies of France, are unprecedented.
France on Thursday accused Australia of back-stabbing and Washington of Donald Trump-era behavior over the submarines deal.
"It’s really a stab in the back," Le Drian said Thursday. "We had established a relationship of trust with Australia, this trust has been betrayed".
France has also called off a gala at its ambassador’s house in Washington scheduled for Friday.
The event was supposed to celebrate the anniversary of a decisive naval battle in the American Revolution, in which France played a key role.