French chief claims allies are 'plotting behind our back!'
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Speaking to Sky News, France’s former ambassador to the USA, Gérard Araud, was insistent that France has been left out in the cold by the group as they forge a security pact to take on China. He argued the recalling of French diplomats from the USA and Australia is the result of feeling betrayed by the three countries whose relationships have been made worse after Australia dumped France from a lucrative €31 billion nuclear submarine building contract which would have seen the French build 12 submersibles for the Aussies.
The furious Frenchman said: “We wanted to build a strategic partnership which would be the pillar of our Asia-Pacific strategy… Our navies were training together!
“Suddenly not only do we lose an important contract but a strategic partnership is thrown away overnight and there is a lot of the partnership that is announced and France is excluded from the partnership!
“And I think the Americans and the Australian’s have added insult to injury because suddenly we discover they have been plotting behind our back for weeks and months.”
He added how the behaviour of the three nations is “not the way of treating allies” as he stressed the devastating impact the shunning has had on France.
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Mr Phillips then questioned why France cannot still remain allies with Britain despite the different directions and behaviour of Australia and USA.
Mr Araud replied: “The first is political: we have been undercut in what we considered very important and we have been undercut by our closest allies.
“The way it has been done has been amazing. We were not told, we were not warned – basically, we were told through the TV!”
He added: “For months British and Australian’s have been plotting behind our back basically saying ‘haha!’ we are going to take these contracts from the French! You don’t behave this way as allies!”
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The diplomat went on to say how the process has been deeply undiplomatic before stressing that the UK has been a “fifth wheel” in the process hence why French diplomats were not withdrawn from London
But in a phenomenal skewer of the former diplomat, Trevor Phillips asked how diplomatic it was of Mr Auraud to tweet that Britain is now run by a “Monty Python government”.
Mr Araud hit back saying: “It is extremely funny, I am not a diplomat anymore. I am using the freedom of retirement to say what I believe!”
The Aukus pact which has caused the almighty diplomatic spat will allow Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time with US technology and will also cover AI and other technologies.
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It is one of the countries’ biggest defence partnerships in decades, analysts say, but China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it “seriously undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies the arms race”.
But the plans to scrap the nuclear submarine deal from the French is a major blow to big promises made by President Macron who told the French following his election that “France is back” alluding to the role the country will play on the world stage. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info radio the deal snub is “really a stab in the back.”
On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the relationship with France was “rock solid” despite the brutal snub.
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