French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault says the deal over an attack class submarine program was always “far more than a contract”, in an address to the National Press Club of Australia.

According to Mr Thebault, this was something “well known” by the Australian government – describing Australia’s backing out of the deal as a “stab in the back”.

“Australia was gaining direct sovereign control of one of its vital tools of defence – a stab in the back,” he told the National Press Club.

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