French ambassador to the US says they ‘absolutely weren’t informed’ of submarine deal
France’s ambassador to the US Phillippe Etienne stated in an interview on Monday that the breakdown of the French-Australian submarine deal came as a surprise to the country. Mr. Etienne stated that French Cabinet ministers were not given an indication that the agreement would be canceled even when representatives met with Australian counterparts just days before an alternative deal was announced with the US and UK. Paris stated that Australia abandoned its $65 billion submarine deal with France in favor of the new agreement without warning.
As part of the new agreement, Australia will be given the technology to construct nuclear-powered submarines. These are considered to be superior to the conventionally powered vessels supplied by France. France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia on Friday in a show of dissatisfaction. Mr. Etienne stated that his departure from Washington was a move that marks the gravity of France’s reaction. Senior members of France’s Macron administration are still discussing what comes next.