Why is France so keen to downplay the role of the United Kingdom in the alliance with Washington and Canberra to supply nuclear submarines to Australia? Why did she not recall, Friday, September 17, her ambassador in London, Catherine Colonna, for “Consultations” as it did with its ambassadors in the United States and in Australia, to mark how extremely serious it considered the breach of the contract of the submarines?
To believe a French diplomatic source, quoted by Reuters, it is because the United Kingdom accompanied “Opportunistically” the operation which resulted in the cancellation of a submarine contract between Australia and France. In Paris, we seem to consider that the first culprit, in this story of betrayal and concealment between allies, is first of all Australia, which broke without notice a historic contract five years after its signature. The United States has also been crucial, agreeing to share its nuclear technology.
The British Defense Minister, Ben Wallace, has certainly gone a little in this direction – that of the opportunist attitude – Thursday, September 16, explaining at the microphone of the BBC: “I understand the disappointment of the French, but the Australians have decided to change. We did not go fishing [au contrat], but we obviously considered it when Australia approached us. “ However, if Downing Street is to be believed, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not play a supporting role at all in concluding the Aukus partnership: he was part of a crucial tripartite meeting with US President Joe Biden and Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, on the sidelines of the G7 in Cornwall (mid-June) which he was also the host.
This meeting had barely been noted by the media, too busy following the twists and turns of the “sausage war”, which seemed to be raging between Boris Johnson and the Europeans, especially France (London demanded to still be able to export without shackles its sausages in Northern Ireland, despite Brexit). It was with the British that the Australians made contact first, also assures the Times, Saturday, September 18, in a long story about the underside of Operation “Hookless” – the code name for Aukus in Downing Street. This first contact would have taken place in March, between Admiral-in-Chief of the Royal Navy Sir Tony Radakin and Australian Vice-Admiral Michael Noonan. The Americans would have taken longer to convince. Australia’s membership in the Commonwealth would have been decisive in the choice of Canberra.
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