France cancels defense summit with Britain over submarines crisis with US, Australia
France cancelled a defense ministerial summit with Britain after Australia scrapped a submarine contract with Paris in favor of a security alliance with Washington and London, the Guardian reported on Sunday.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart Ben Wallace were meant to hold a bilateral meeting in London and address the two-day Franco-British Council this week, but the event has been “postponed to a later date,” according to the Guardian.
The defense summit is the latest casualty in the aftermath of the US, Britain and Australia new security alliance to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, leading to Melbourne scrapping a 2016 contract with Paris to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines worth nearly $100 billion.
The announcement enraged France that accused the US of “duplicity”, and Australia of “betrayal” and declared that a crisis struck at the heart of Western alliances.
France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia.
US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron will speak over the coming days in an effort to resolve the issue.
Australia’s Prime Minister defended the decision by saying he didn’t regret prioritizing his country’s national interests.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson simply said that relations with France were “rock solid.”