French FM sees AUKUS deal as “crisis of trust” between allies

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French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday that the nuclear submarine deal between the United States, Britain and Australia, known as AUKUS, represents a “crisis of trust” between allies that requires explanations.

“It’s not so much about breaking a contract … It is of course having a negative impact on France. But of course, first and foremost, this is a matter of breaking the trust between allies. And it brings about some heavy reflections on behalf of we, the Europeans, as to the way we see our alliances and partnerships,” Le Drian told reporters in New York.

“What matters now is, first of all, the breach of trust between partners. Because trust, partners and alliance mean transparency, predictability. It requires explanations. It’s about talking to one another, not hiding from one another, in particular on matters of importance. And all of that did not happen. We need to talk about it: why was all that missing, why was all that hidden, and made public without telling us ahead of time?”

Le Drian, who is in New York for the high-level week of the UN General Assembly, said he did not intend to meet U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Of course I may see him here or there in the corridor,” said Le Drian.

A diplomatic rift emerged between Washington and Paris over the announcement that the United States and Britain will support Australia to develop nuclear-powered submarines, depriving France of a contract to provide conventional submarines to Australia.

Outraged by the abrupt move without notice, France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia on Friday.

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