Submarine crisis: Canberra has no regrets despite the wrath of Paris

As he was preparing to board the plane in Canberra, Saturday, September 18, the French ambassador, Jean-Pierre Thébault, stationed in the capital for a little less than a year, told the press local rather wish to embark in “A machine to go back in time and go back in time, so as not to be in the incredible, awkward situation (…) where we meet “. Referring to Australia’s breach of the French group Naval Group contract for twelve submarines, Mr. Thébault also blasted a huge error: “A very, very bad management of a partnership supposed to be based on trust, mutual understanding and sincerity”, he hammered. Sour, he criticized that the French authorities were “Intentionally blinded for eighteen months”, in comments to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. “This is not what we do with a partner and even less with a friend. “ Mr. Thébault, recalled by Paris following the example of the French ambassador in Washington, returns to France for “consultation”.

In Australia, political reactions to the French diplomatic sanction on Friday were sober and belated. Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not speak until Sunday, after his government was again criticized for “Duplicity” and ” lie “ by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in the French media. Without expressing the slightest regret, even assuring that he tried to reach President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday evening, the day before the announcement of the choice of American nuclear-powered submarines as part of the Aukus strategic partnership sealed between the traditional Australian and American allies. and British.

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I don’t regret the decision to put Australia’s national interest first. I will never regret it Scott Morrison said at a press conference. According to him, the French had ” every reason to know that we had deep and serious reservations that the capabilities of the submarine did not meet our strategic interests and we had made it clear that we would make a decision based on our national strategic interest “. His defense minister, Peter Dutton, while understanding the ” annoyance of the French “, Also argued that the Australians had been” frank, open and honest About their contract grievances.

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