Submarine crisis: Paris still refuses to reconnect with Canberra – teller report

DIPLOMACY – The cancellation, in mid-September, of a mega-contract for French submarines to Australia cast a chill in the bilateral relationship between Paris and Canberra. France would expect guarantees from the Australian executive.

Resuming language seems essential, but when? Partner “important” as Emmanuel Macron recalled this Tuesday, Australia moved away with the signing of the AUKUS alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom in mid-September.

Since then, Paris and Canberra have still not re-established contact at the highest level. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrisson claimed last week that he tried unsuccessfully to reach Emmanuel Macron, acknowledging that he will have to show up “patient” to renew ties with Paris. This is not the case with his American and British counterparts, the French president having spoken last week with Joe Biden then Boris Johnson, a few days after the outbreak of this diplomatic crisis.

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Submarine affair: an unprecedented crisis between France, Australia and the United States

“Prepare for this conversation very seriously”

The Elysee said on Tuesday that Paris was waiting to be assured of having a “conversation of substance” with Australia before reconnecting. “The question is not to know”, according to an adviser to the president, if Emmanuel Macron is “available to talk” with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrisson car “he still is”, but it is about “prepare for this conversation in a very serious way.”

French diplomacy accuses its Australian partner of canceling a mega-contract for the sale of submarines to Australia, signed in 2016 by the French industrialist Naval Group. This aborted contract was part of a strategic rapprochement made for several years with Australia, which was to seal the importance of France in the Indo-Pacific zone. “(Australia) has not behaved properly in this matter”, also recalled Emmanuel Macron this Tuesday.

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The French ambassador soon to return to Canberra

As a sign of appeasement, the Elysee Palace however indicated that the French ambassador to Australia, recalled to Paris for two weeks, would return to Canberra “on a date to be determined”. The one posted to the United States is due to join Washington on Wednesday.

The day this crisis broke out, last September 15, the head of diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian was talking about a “blow in the back” Australian and a “Unilateral, brutal, unpredictable decision is a lot like what Mr. Trump was doing” about the American initiative in this matter.

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