French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed his decision on Wednesday with two objectives: “Helping to define our relationship with Australia in the future” and “firmly defend our interests in the implementation of Australia’s decision to terminate the programme”.
The announcement of the US, UK and Australia defence pact – AUKUS – brought an end to France’s $90 billion submarine contract in Australia, which was signed in 2016.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the withdrawal from the submarine deal was a “stab in the back”. Picture: Getty Images
The French government responded to Australia’s decision to ditch the contract by recalling its ambassadors to the US and Australia.
At the time, Mr Le Drain described Australia’s decision to pull out of the multi-billion pact as “a stab in the back”.
“It’s really a stab in the back. We had established a relationship of trust with Australia, this trust has been betrayed,” he told France Info radio in September.
Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to send its ambassador to Washington after a call with US President Joe Biden, which helped soothe tensions.
Morrison admits he did not contact French president prior to axing submarine deal
Mr Macron reacted to the loss of the submarine contract to the USA by urging Europeans to “take part in our own protection”.
“The United States are great historical friends and allies in terms of values,” he said.
“But we must see that for more than 10 years the Americans first focus on themselves and have strategic interests reoriented toward China and the Pacific.
“We must, as Europeans, take our part in our own protection.”
Mr Macron is still refusing to speak with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

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