Paris the biggest loser in the alliance between Canberra, Washington and London?

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The United States, the United Kingdom and Canberra, on Wednesday 15 September, announced the constitution of a new Partnership for Security and Defense. Australia should get several US nuclear submarines. It is abandoning, in passing, a massive order for French submarines signed in 2016. Despite everything, US President Joe Biden assures us that he still relies on Paris in the region.

The announcement was made on Wednesday by Scott Morrison. Australian Prime Minister confirmed that his country will get US nuclear-powered submarines. This is the decision that emerged from the new partnership between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. These last two will help the former acquire these devices, as stipulated in this new agreement called Aukus.

« Aukus’ first major initiative will be the delivery of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia Happy Scott Morrison, appears in a video conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden. This alliance can also be read as a strong position in the face of China’s growing ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region.

A senior White House official called the partnership ” Historical Connecting the Three Countries for generations “.The US has only shared this sensitive technology with the UK. This shows the importance of this agreement.” This reflects the degree of trust between us and the depth of our friendship “,” Dixit Boris Johnson. But the fourth protagonist seems to be the biggest loser in this partnership: France.

‘Unfortunate decision’, considered Paris

In 2016, Australia placed a huge order for conventional submarines from France. Naval Group, a French industrial group specializing in building naval defense, was to deliver 12 vehicles over 50 years. Total cost of the operation: 50 billion Australian dollars, or 31 billion euros. The real “decade of the century” to be abandoned in favor of the new Aukus partnership. The Australian Prime Minister has already announced that the agreement with Paris has been broken.

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It must be said that in Canberra, there has been much criticism of the French, who have been blamed for delays or extra costs, and reports Our correspondent in SydneyAnd Gregory Bliss. An alternative has been found but it will be expensive. The Australian press reported that the fines to be paid by Naval Group for breach of contract may exceed 250 million euros.

In a joint statement, the French Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs took note of the Australian government’s decision, saying it was a “decision.” Contrasted with the letter and spirit of cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia ». « The American option that leads to the removal of a European ally and partner such as France from an orderly partnership with Australia, at a time when we are facing unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific (…) indicates a lack of consistency that France can only notice and regret The French government appreciates.

On Wednesday evening, Naval Group made by ” His big disappointment Regarding the latest developments. ” The Commonwealth of Australia did not want to start the next phase of the program, much to the disappointment of the Naval Group, which provided Australia with a conventional submarine of regional superiority with exceptional performance. ‘, indicative of industrial.

Any contract, at any time, can veer to one side or the other. But in Australia we thought it would come to an end. We are disappointed because it was a contract that had strong export opportunities and therefore a very impressive contract.

David Rubin, CFDT delegate at Naval Group Cherbourg

Biden still wants Working closely with France »

Perhaps aware of the coldness that Aukus could cast on relations with France, Joe Biden wanted a union. The US President stressed that his country wants to ” Working closely with France In the Indo-Pacific region. Paris remains key partner ‘, he insisted.

« It’s about investing in our greatest strengths: our alliances, The US president said. and modernize it to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow. It is about connecting America’s partners and allies in a new way, amplifying our ability to cooperate, while recognizing that nothing can separate the interests of our Atlantic partners from the peaceful interests. This effort mirrors the trend of some of the major European nations that play a very important role in the Pacific. France in particular already has a significant presence in the Indo-Pacific region and France is a key partner in the alliance that promotes prosperity and security in the region. The United States looks forward to working with France and other key countries as we move forward. »

For his part, Scott Morrison noted, moreover, that he still saw Paris as a very close ally: I want to remind you that France remains a very important partner… I hope that this relationship will continue beyond what is undoubtedly a difficult and disappointing decision for France. But my role as prime minister is to do everything in our power to defend our national security interests. I know France will do the same and that in the end, we will be understood ».

This is certainly not enough to satisfy Paris. Other countries are surprised and unhappy. To avoid accusations of proliferation, the three commanders insisted that the submarines would be powered and not nuclear-armed. But New Zealand declares that it will not be welcome in its waters.

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