Australia rejects the accusations of France in the crisis on submarines

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has rejected the accusations of France that his Government lied to his plans to cancel a contract for the purchase

Australia rejects the accusations of France in the crisis on submarines

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has rejected the accusations of France that his Government lied to his plans to cancel a contract for the purchase of French submarines, affirming that he had already raised his "deep reserves" about the agreement " months".

"I think they had all the reasons to know that we had profound and serious reservations about the fact that the capabilities of the Attack Class Submarine did not respond to our strategic interests and we make very clear that we would make a decision based on our national strategic interest", Morrison declared at a press conference in Sydney.

France is furious by Australia's decision to withdraw from the Agreement of 90,000 million Australian dollars ($ 65 billion, 56,000 million euros) for the purchase of French submarines in favor of US nuclear propulsion vessels.

The French President Emmanuel Macron will have a call with US President. Joe Biden, in the coming days for the diplomatic crisis between the two allies, as confirmed by the French Government spokesman. Gabriel Attal said that France will seek a "clarification" on the cancellation of the report of submarines by Australia in favor of a trilateral security agreement with the United States and Great Britain.

The French Government called on consultations with its ambassadors in Canberra and Washington, and accused Australia and the United States to lie on the breakdown of the contract, while talking about "serious crisis" between allies.

The Australian Prime Minister said he understood the "disappointment" of the French Government, but affirmed that he had raised problems with the agreement "a few months ago", as well as other ministers of the Australian government.

Morrison said it would have been a "negligence" to move forward with the contract even though Australia's intelligence and defense services had advised him to go against the strategic interests of the country.

"I do not regret the decision to put the national interest of Australia, I will never regret," he said.

For his part, the Minister of Defense, Peter Dutton, said this Sunday that his government had been "Franco, Open and Honest" with France about his concerns about the agreement, which was above budget and with years of delay.

Dutton said he has personally expressed those concerns to his French counterpart, Florence Parly.

According to Dutton, Canberra was not in a position to buy French nuclear propulsion vessels due to maintenance needs every ten years, including nuclear replenishment, which does not occur with US submarines.

Nuclear propulsion submarines are more autonomous than conventional propulsion (diesel-electric).

The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom announced on Wednesday a strategic partnership to counteract China, called Aukus, which includes the supply of US nuclear propulsion submarines to Canberra, which leaves French out of play.

In statements to television France 2, the Gallo Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, affirmed that it is a "serious crisis".

"There has been a lie (...), a duplicity (...), a great rupture of trust" and a "contempt" on the part of the allies of France, affirmed.

The minister made these statements a day after President Emmanuel Macron will call Ambassadors in Canberra and Washington consultations at an unprecedented act demonstrating France's anger for the cancellation of the submarine contract.

The French Foreign Minister also considered that this crisis will influence the definition of the new strategic concept of NATO, without mentioning however an output of the Atlantic Alliance.

"NATO has initiated a reflection, at the request of the President of the Republic, on its basics, there will be at the next Summit of NATO in Madrid the conclusion of the new strategic concept. Of course, what has just happened will have to do with this Definition, "said Le Drian.

"It is necessary that Europe is needed at the same time from its strategic compass and this will be under the responsibility of France in the first half of 2022," he added, referring to the French Presidency of the European Union on January 1.

Admiral Rob Bauer, president of the NATO military committee, said that the dispute will not have an impact on the "military cooperation" of the Alliance.

For its part, the United States hopes to deal with its dispute with France this week apart from the UN General Assembly in New York, according to Ned Price, spokesperson of the US State Department.

Updated Date: 21 September 2021, 01:59

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