French President Emanuel Macron on Friday recalled France’s ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia in protest of Canberra’s announcement this week it would scuttle a 2016 agreement to buy French submarines and will instead receive nuclear submarine technology from the U.S.
The move will send Ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne back to Paris for consultations.
“This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States,” French Foreign Ministry Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
The French Embassy in Washington, D.C. did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The New York Times first reported the move.
The act of recalling an ambassador is a well-known diplomatic tool to mark a grievance that is generally symbolic and short-lived. France similarly recalled its ambassadors to Turkey last year after “unacceptable” comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and to Italy in 2019 as part of a broader diplomatic row. Just in April, President Joe Biden recalled U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan, reciprocating Moscow’s move after Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer.” Sullivan returned to his post two months later.
The latest dramatic schism among Western military powers follows the announcement Wednesday by the leaders of Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. that they would form a new security pact as a way “to preserve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. Though White House officials have stressed the arrangement is not specifically targeting China, these same officials acknowledge that Beijing represents the greatest threat to security and stability in the region.
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Source: US News