Australia regrets the French decision to recall its ambassador from the country over Canberra’s withdrawal from the deal with Naval Group on submarines’ supplies, a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Saturday.
On late Friday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the recall of the country’s ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations due to Canberra’s termination of the submarines contract.
On Wednesday, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced a defense partnership called AUKUS, with the initial task of US and UK backing of Australia’s bid to acquire nuclear-propelled submarines.
The new defensive pact forced Canberra to give up on a $66 billion contract with France to develop 12 state-of-the-art conventionally powered attack submarines, as the defensive alliance promises to enhance Australia’s fleet with nuclear-powered submarines.
Le Drian referred to the deal as “a stab in the back,” and the French Embassy in Washington canceled a reception set for Friday to celebrate the US-French alliance dating back to the American War of Independence.
“At the request of the President of the Republic, I have decided to immediately recall two of our ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations,” Le Drian said in a statement.
“We note with regret France’s decision to recall its Ambassador to Australia for consultations following the decision on the Attack Class [submarine] project,” the spokeswoman told The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
According to the spokeswoman, Australia values its relations with France and views it as an important player in ensuring stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We look forward to engaging with France again on our many issues of shared interest, based on shared values,” the spokeswoman added.
Earlier, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing that the United Nations is aware of the reports of the diplomatic rift between the United States and China and France over the new security partnership with the United Kingdom and Australia (AUKUS) and emphasizes the importance of dialogue to resolve all regional tensions.