Paris: France will return its ambassador to Australia in Canberra following a bitter dispute over a new defense pact that sank a $ 90 billion submarine contract.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who last month accused the Morrison government of stabbing Paris in the back over the AUKUS deal, made the announcement while being questioned by lawmakers French Wednesday afternoon, local time.
“I have now asked our Ambassador to return to Canberra with two missions: to help redefine the terms of our relationship with Australia in the future … and to defend our interests in the concrete implementation of Australia’s decision to end of the program for the future. submarines, ”said Le Drian.
Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault was recalled in mid-September amid fallout from a shock deal between the US and UK to help Australia build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines .
The deal sank a $ 90 billion contract between Australia and France for 12 diesel-powered submarines, which Macron had used as a central part of his strategy to be a major security partner in the Indo – Pacific more and more contested.
The United States has since acknowledged that the AUKUS announcement was mismanaged and that France should have been informed sooner.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is currently visiting Paris with the aim of repairing transatlantic relations. French President Emmanuel Macron plans to meet with US President Joe Biden at the G20 summit in Rome later this month to discuss the feud.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Macron refused to take his calls.
Biden’s special envoy John Kerry said this week on French television that the president “was not fully aware” of the impact the AUKUS deal would have on Paris.