Australia claims to have had “deep and serious reservations” about French submarines

“I don’t regret the decision to put Australia’s national interest first. I will never regret it. ” Four days after breaking a gigantic contract concluded in 2016 with France for the supply of conventional submarines, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday (September 19) that the French government knew Canberra already had “Deep and serious reservations” concerning French machines.

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” I think they [les Français] would have had every reason to know that we had deep and serious reservations that the capabilities of the Attack-class submarine did not meet our strategic interests, and we had made it clear that we would make a decision based on our national strategic interests ”, he told a press conference in Sydney.

For the Australian Prime Minister, it would have been “Careless” to go ahead with this contract despite advice from Australia’s Defense and Intelligence Services, which felt it would run counter to Australia’s strategic interests.

“Frustration of the French”

Earlier today on Sunday, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said his government had been “Frank, open and honest” with France on its concerns about the deal, which went over budget and years behind schedule.

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The minister said he understood the “Annoyance of the French”, but that “The suggestions that the Australian government did not[vait] not reported concerns challenge[ai]ent, frankly, what is on the public record and certainly what has[vait] been said publicly for a long time “.

“At no time, in any way” France has not received “A clear signal that the contract would be broken”, demented, sunday, in the columns of Guardian, the French Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault. “The feeling of betrayal is very strong”, he adds.

“Lie”, “duplicity”

France is furious at Australia’s decision to withdraw from a 90 billion Australian dollars (56 billion euros) contract for the purchase of French submarines in favor of US nuclear-powered ships. She recalled her ambassadors in Canberra and Washington.

Speaking on France 2 on Saturday the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, had mentioned a “Serious crisis” and denounced a “Duplicity” from the United States and Australia. “There was a lie, there was duplicity, there was a major breach of trust, there was contempt, so things didn’t go well between us”, did he declare. He called the withdrawal of the ambassadors an act “Very symbolic” aiming to “Show our former partner countries that we have very strong discontent, that there really is a serious crisis between [la France et l’Australie].

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The Australian Defense Minister said he personally expressed these concerns to his French counterpart, Florence Parly, and underlined the “Need for Australia to act in its national interest”.

According to Mr. Dutton, Canberra was unable to buy French nuclear-powered ships, due to maintenance operations which must take place every ten years and which include the reloading of nuclear fuel, which is not not the case of the American submarines and justifies the choice of the latter, Australia having no nuclear power station.

The World with AFP

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