Paris/Washington/Canberra – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has warned that the political crisis created between France and the United States over the AUKUS deal will take time to resolve. The United States needs to take the initiative for that. The French Foreign Minister made this clear during a meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Last week, France decided to recall its ambassadors to the United States and Australia over the issue of this agreement. Since then, both the United States and Australia have taken steps to reduce tensions with France.
Last week, Australia signed an agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom for nuclear submarines and other defence cooperation. Before the deal, Australia held talks with France over a submarine deal. Australia had also approached the French company. Against this background, it is clear that France has been hurt because Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom signed the agreement without talking to France.
The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have launched a series of diplomatic moves to quell France’s anger. On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden called French President Emmanuel Macron. The two leaders agreed to start in-depth talks to maintain the trust among NATO partners. Sources have hinted that the US president will also meet French President Macron next month.
Against this background, the stand adopted by the French Foreign Minister in his meetings with the US Ministers is noteworthy. An hour-long discussion took place between French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Blinken of the United States. In this discussion, Yves-Drian made it clear that the ‘AUKUS Deal’ had damaged the trust between France and the United States; it was a major problem. He also noted that this problem will not go away easily and will take time. US Secretary of State Blinken also reaffirmed the stand of the French foreign minister, acknowledging that some time will be required.
France, which has been in talks with the United States, has responded coldly to British and Australian efforts. The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, claimed that he had tried to establish communication with the French President. But Morrison said that there was no response from France. The French Foreign Ministry has also refused to hold talks with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has also criticized the United Kingdom for being opportunistic.
Meanwhile, Naval Group, the French company which was a part of the France-Australia agreement, has announced that compensation will be demanded from Australia. The bill will be sent to Australia in the next few weeks, company head Pierre Pommellet said in an interview with a French daily.