Move escalates fight over deal to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarine technology.
- French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he had recalled Philippe Etienne from Washington and Jean-Pierre The bault from Canberra for consultation on instructions from French President Emmanuel Macron, a decision “justified by the exceptional gravity” of the announcement this week of the trilateral pact among the three English-speaking allies.
- He added that the arms agreement between Paris and Canberra was supposed to be based “on trust, mutual understanding and sincerity.”
- “I would like to be able to run into a time machine,” he said, “and be in a situation where we don’t end up in such an incredible, clumsy, inadequate, un-Australian situation.”
- The office of the Australian foreign minister, Marise Payne, had earlier issued a statement expressing Canberra’s “regret” over its ally’s withdrawal of its representative.
- It added: “Australia understands France’s deep disappointment with our decision, which was taken in accordance with our clear and communicated national security interests.”