France will discuss the new NATO strategic concept bearing in mind the crisis in its relations with the United States, which formed a new strategic partnership with the UK and Australia behind its back, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday.
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On Friday, Paris for the first time in history recalled its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra after finding out that Australia abandoned a $66 billion submarine contract with France to obtain nuclear-powered submarines instead within the trilateral partnership with the UK and the US (AUKUS).
“At the request of the President of the Republic, NATO initiated a discussion of its concept. The next NATO summit in Madrid will work on a new strategic concept. Obviously, what has happened will be of relevance to its definition,” Le Drian told France 2 channel.
The French foreign minister has earlier described Australia’s keeping France in the dark about its decision to break the submarine deal as a “breach of trust” and a “stab in the back.” Under the contract, signed in 2016, France was supposed to supply Australia with 12 diesel-powered combat submarines of Barracuda class.
US National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said that the US administration was in close contact with the French authorities to resolve the differences after the French ambassador was recalled from Washington.
The next NATO summit will take place in Madrid in 2022.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden are expected to speak over the phone in the coming days, the French government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, said Sunday.
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“President Biden has asked to speak with the French president. The phone conversation of president Macron and president Biden will take place in the next few days,” Attal said, as aired on the BFMTV broadcaster.
On Friday, the French foreign minister announced that Paris was recalling its ambassadors from the US and Australia for consultations.
Earlier, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has announced her plans to propose a plan of creating the EU rapid reaction forces by the end of October, media reported.
“This does not mean that we should separate from the Americans. There could be situations when we have some other interests, including those within NATO. In this case, we should be able to act ourselves,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
The minister also said that the recent developments in Afghanistan made her think about the resignation but she decided not to do that and to work further to prevent such situations in the future.