The French government recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultation in response to America’s recently announced national security partnership with the United Kingdom and Australia.
Philippe Étienne, the French ambassador to the US, confirmed the news when reached for comment.
In a statement, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French minister for Europe and foreign affairs, said Friday that the move was made at the request of President Emmanuel Macron.
“This extraordinary decision reflects the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” Le Drian said. “The abandonment of the ocean-class submarine project that Australia and France had been working on since 2016 and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States aimed at studying the possibility of future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines constitute unacceptable behavior among allies and partners; their consequences affect the very concept we have of our alliances, our partnerships, and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe.”
The US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with the French Minister of Defense on Friday morning, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a briefing.