Aukus: France pulls out of UK defence talks amid row

France pulls out of UK defence talks amid row
Liz Truss became Foreign Secretary in this week's reshuffle. Source: PA MEDIA
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Daily US Times: The defence minister of France has cancelled talks with her UK counterpart amid the row prompted by Aukus, a new security deal between Britain, Australia and the US.

France is angry after Australia signed the security pact to build nuclear-powered submarines, pulling out of a major multibillion-dollar contract with France in the process.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said France had nothing to worry about from the deal.

But Florence Parly’s talks with UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace in London this week has been cancelled.

Lord Ricketts, a former British ambassador to France and who was the co-chair the two days of talks, said that the meeting had been “postponed to a later date”.

The Aukus deal brokered last week, widely seen as an effort to counter China’s influence in the contested South China Sea. The partnership ended a deal worth $37bn signed by Australia in 2016 for France to build 12 conventional submarines.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has described Aukus as “stab in the back” that constituted “unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners”.

French President Emmanuel Macron ordered the recall of the French ambassadors to Canberra and Washington, which was considered a very bold move. Recalling ambassadors from ally countries is very unusual.

Speaking on a flight to New York, Mr Johnson said France should not “worry” about the alliance, insisting that Anglo-French relations were “ineradicable”. Mr. Johnson will take part in the UN General Assembly this week.

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