World

France ‘stabbed in back’ on subs deal

A French diplomat has slammed Australia’s new nuclear deal with the US and UK, declaring his country has been stabbed in the back.

France’s former ambassador to the US has lashed out over the new arms deal struck between Australia, the US, and the UK, saying his country has been “stabbed in the back”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the landmark deal on Thursday for Australia’s submarine program to “go nuclear” under a defence pact with Joe Biden and Boris Johnson.

But the French diplomat was outraged by the news, telling Twitter he believed the deal had nothing to do with nuclear capabilities and was actually about Australia trying to secure a “juicy contract”.

“The world is a jungle,” Gerard Araud declared.

“France has just been reminded this bitter truth by the way the US and the UK have stabbed her in the back in Australia.”

Talks between France and Australia over a potential deal with France’s Naval Group SA to build a new fleet of submarines occurred earlier this year but were marred by delays and frustrations.

The new submarines were not expected to be delivered until about 2035, and defence strategists expressed concerns that this timeline was too sluggish considering tensions in the Indo-Pacific region are expected to increase.

By June, Mr Morrison announced he had a “candid” discussion with French President Emmanuel Macron over delays and cost overruns in his government’s deal.

But Mr Araud felt snubbed by the new deal, declaring it had “nothing to do with capabilities”.

“France was able to sell nuc(lear) powered submarines,” he said.

Mr Araud concluded that Australia, the US, and the UK had made the deal at “the expense” of his nation as an ally.

Source

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