Submarine crisis: France recalled ambassadors from US and Australia

Ivan Zhukovsky

France has recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia. The reason was the creation of the AUKUS union (Great Britain – USA – Australia), from which Paris lost the contract with Canberra for the supply of 12 submarines.

The US State Departm-ent said it understands the position of France in the scandal with the AUKUS alliance and Australia’s refusal to acquire non-nuclear submarines Barracuda from the French consortium Thales / DCNS.

“We are in close contact with our French allies. We understand their position and know about plans to recall the ambassador <…> to Paris for consultations. France is a vital partner and oldest ally, and we attach the utmost importance to our relationship, ”said US Foreign Office spokesman Ned Price.

He added that Washington hopes to continue discussing joint work with Paris “in line with our close bilateral partnership and commitment to cooperation on a range of issues, including the Indian and Pacific Oceans.” The parties can discuss this next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

“We note with regret the decision of France to recall the Ambassador to Australia for consultations after the decision on the Attack Class project. Australia understands France’s deep disappointment with our decision, ”said in turn the representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, Maris Payne. On the eve of the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that he had decided to immediately rec-all the ambassadors for co-nsultations – at the request of President Emmanuel Macron.

“This exceptional decision is justified by the particular gravity of the statements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” added Le Drian. According to him, Canberra’s decision is a “stab in the back.” “I’m angry. I feel a great sense of bitterness in connection with the termination of this contract. The allies do not act like that, ”the French minister stressed.

What can’t you do for the submarines

Australia still does not have its own nuclear submarine fleet. The contract with the French involved the supply of non-nuclear submarines Barracuda from the Thales / DCNS consortium. The cost of the F-rench project was considered very high from the very beginning, the lead su-bmarine was supposed to be delivered only in 2030, and the series should be co-mpleted by 2040. Australia originally planned to pay $ 28 billion for this, then the amount increased to $ 60 billion.

The United States and Great Britain, which have formed the AUKUS all-iance with Australia, are pr-omising Canberra technology for building nuclear submarines. For the first submarines to leave the Ade-laide shipyards in 2036, A-ustralia is ready to pay ab-out $ 66 billion. The project involves the construction of eight submarines. “The choice will have to be between the British type Astute and the American Virginia. The most likely choice is the American project “,

  • Ilya Kramnik, an expert at the Center for North Am-erican Studies of the IME-MO RAS and the Russian International Affairs Coun-cil, told Kommersant.

Now the Australians have at their disposal only six Collins-class submarines, they were built in 1990-2003 according to a modified Swedish project, the service life of these devices is 30 years.

“These were supposed to be non-nuclear submarines armed, in addition to torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, also with long-range cruise missiles, adapted for conducting special operations with the delivery of combat swimmers and performing reconnaissance tasks,” the expert noted.

The main task of the new submarines should be to contain the Chinese submarine fleet. The new Anglo-American-Australian alliance AUKUS is also directed to fight the PRC.

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