France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia on Friday, days after a deal was struck between the latter two countries, blindsiding Paris and resulting in the loss of an estimated $40 billion submarine deal.
The top French diplomat, Jean Yves-Le Drian released a statement to announce the decision. He said it was over “unacceptable behavior” and that the move was “justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements” between the US and Australia.
A White House official quickly hit back, saying the US regretted the decision to recall the ambassadors and that it would work with its French partners to resolve differences in “the coming days.”
Earlier this week, the US, Australia and UK announced a new alliance seen as pushing back against China in the Indo-Pacific. France was left out and said it was blindsided despite raising questions in private calls with US officials.
France went as far as calling the move a “stab in the back” and canceled a diplomatic event to be held in Washington Friday. A top French Navy officer was in the US, but left early to return to Paris.
Apart from being left out of the alliance, France lost out on a deal it had agreed to with Australia years ago to build diesel-electric submarines.
The new deal with the US will see Washington provide Australia with nuclear-powered subs.