France’s former ambassador to the United States has lashed out at the new arms deal reached by Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, claiming that his country has been “stabbed in the back.”
On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a historic agreement for Australia’s submarine programme to “go nuclear” as part of a defence pact with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Australia will build a fleet of nuclear submarines as part of AUKUS, a new security alliance between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The extraordinary measure is a reaction to China’s growing threat and will be viewed as provocative by that country.
The submarines will be built in Adelaide in collaboration with the UK and the US.
‘France has been stabbed in the back’
“The world is a jungle. France has just been reminded this bitter truth by the way the US and the UK have stabbed her in the back in Australia. C’est la vie,” French diplomat Gérard Araud said in a tweet.
However, the French diplomat was outraged by the news, claiming on Twitter that the deal had nothing to do with nuclear capabilities and was instead about Australia attempting to secure a “juicy contract.”
“It has nothing to do with capabilities : France was able to sell nuc powered submarines. And everything with getting a juicy contract at the expense of an ally,” Araud added in a separate tweet.
Delays in deal
Early this year, France and Australia had talks over a potential deal with France’s Naval Group SA to build a new fleet of submarines, but the talks were hampered by delays and disappointments.
According to Australian local media, the new submarines were not projected to be delivered until around 2035, and the defense strategists raised worry that this timeline was too long given that tensions in the Indo-Pacific region were expected to rise.