UK Seeks Easing Tensions with France
In the backdrop of the cancellation of the French submarine deal with Australia, UK PM Boris Johnson seeks to ease tensions, calling Britain’s love of France “ineradicable".
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, tried to play down diplomatic tensions with Paris over the AUKUS pact with Australia.
In a press statement on Sunday, Johnson said the UK is very proud of its relationship with France, saying his country's "love of France is ineradicable." He added that both Britain and France share joint military operations in Mali and Baltic states and a simulated nuclear testing program.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday that he assumed Paris was aware of Canberra's "serious and deep concerns" about French submarines before the deal was scrapped last week.
The Land Down Under
Earlier, Morrison dismissed French criticism over Australia's cancellation of a submarine deal, saying that he had raised the issue in talks with the French President back in June.
Morrison on Friday also acknowledged the damage to Australian-French bilateral relations but insisted that he had told the French President Emmanuel Macron that Australia is having second thoughts about the deal and might have to make another decision, according to Reuters.
France in a crisis with the US, Australia
For his part, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday that the submarine issue will affect the future of NATO. He also accused Britain of "permanent opportunism", saying that France considers that it is in a crisis with Washington and Canberra after the submarine deal was canceled.
Earlier, the French Ambassador, Jean-Pierre Thibault, had said that Australia made a "grave diplomatic mistake" after it backed out from a multi-billion dollar deal to buy French submarines in favor of an alternative deal with the United States and the UK.
Where it all began
Australia announced last Wednesday that it would cancel a $40 billion deal it struck in 2016 with France's Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines using US and British technology after a trilateral security partnership.
US President Joe Biden, UK PM Boris Johnson, and Australian PM Scott Morrison released a joint statement on August 15, announcing a new defense and security pact they called AUKUS, whose first project is to build nuclear submarines for Australia's naval fleet.