French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has accused Australia and the United States of lying about a new security pact that prompted Paris to call its ambassadors to those countries for consultations.
Minister Le Drian also accused the states of “grave breach of trust”.
The deal, known as Aukus, has resulted in the cancellation of a multibillion-dollar deal France has signed with Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he has acted in the national interests of his state.
He insisted that the French government “had every reason to know that we had deep concerns” that the $ 37 million deal, signed in 2016, “would not meet our strategic interests”.
“Obviously it is a matter of great disappointment for the French Government, so I understand their disappointment,” he said.
“But at the same time, Australia, like any sovereign nation, must make decisions that are in our national interest.”
The alliance, known as Aukus, which includes the United Kingdom, will enable Australia to build nuclear-capable submarines as a way to counter China’s influence in the South China Sea.
France was informed by the alliance just hours after the official announcement was made.
In an interview with France 2 television, Le Drian said there was a “serious crisis” between the allies.
“The fact that for the first time in the history of relations between the United States and France, we are calling our ambassadors for consultations, is a serious political act, which shows the extent of the crisis that exists between our countries,” he told France 2.
He said France saw no “need” to summon its ambassador to the United Kingdom, accusing the country of “persistent opportunism”.
China, on the other hand, has accused the three pact powers of having a “Cold War mentality.”
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