Australian Prime Minister says he understands France’s “disappointment” at submarine snub

The Australian Prime Minister has said he understands France’s “disappointment” after his government scrapped a multibillion-dollar submarine deal in favor of a pact with the United States and Great Britain. Brittany.

Scott Morrison has defended his decision to withdraw from the £ 30 billion deal with the French, saying it was taken out of “national defense interests”.

By joining the United States and the United Kingdom in Aukus, a trilateral security partnership, Australia canceled the agreement signed in 2016 with the French naval group for the construction of a fleet of conventional submarines.

Instead, the Australian Navy must acquire a more capable fleet of nuclear-powered – albeit non-nuclear – powered ships with the help of the United States and the United Kingdom.

France has since reacted with fury, saying it had not been given sufficient notice of the cancellation of the $ 90 billion (£ 65 billion) deal and that Aukus’ announcement was “a unacceptable behavior between allies and partners “.

Speaking at a Sunday briefing, Mr Morrison said: “Of course, this is a matter of great disappointment for the French government, so I understand its disappointment.

“But at the same time, Australia, like any sovereign nation, must still make decisions that are in the best interests of our sovereign national defense.”

Meanwhile, new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has thoroughly defended the UK’s security pact with the US and Australia, saying the deal shows Britain is ready to be ” obstinate ”to defend its interests.

Write in the Sunday Telegraph, Ms Truss said the deal – widely seen as a counterbalance to China’s growing military assertiveness in the region – underscored the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific.

Britain will always be a ‘fierce champion’ of freedom and free enterprise in the world, she said, “but freedoms must be defended, so we are also building strong bonds of security in the world. “.

“That is why last week the Prime Minister announced, alongside our friends President Biden and Prime Minister Morrison, the creation of a new security partnership called Aukus,” she wrote.

“It shows that we are ready to show determination to defend our interests and challenge unfair practices and malicious acts. “

Previously, in a series of interviews with French television, the Minister for Europe Clément Beaune had accused Great Britain of going back on the “American tour”.

He said: “Our British friends told us that they were leaving the EU to create Global Britain. We can see that this is a return to the American fold and a form of accepted vassalization.

“The UK is clearly trying to find its feet, maybe there was a lack of thinking about the strategic future. Today, they are hiding in the American fold. I hope that will not be their policy for decades to come.

He later added: “We see through this partnership, this strategic alliance and after the Kabul crisis, that Global Britain appears to be more of a junior US partner than working with different allies. “

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