Australian news, and some related international items

Deceived’: France says it had assurances from Australia on day subs deal cancelled

Deceived’: France says it had assurances from Australia on day subs deal cancelled, ABC, By Jack Hawke and Nick Dole in London 22 Sept 21,

Australian officials had written to their French counterparts to say they were “satisfied” with how a $90 billion submarine deal was progressing on the same day it was announced the deal was being cancelled, France’s defence ministry has claimed.

Key points:

  • Australia has terminated a $90bn deal to buy 12 conventionally-powered submarines from France in a deal brokered in 2016
  • Instead it has teamed up in a new alliance with the UK and US, which will deliver nuclear-powered submarines
  • France’s defence ministry says it feels “cheated” and “blindsided” by Australia’s decision

Herve Grandjean, a spokesman for the defence ministry, also told the ABC the French feel cheated and blindsided by the announcement.

It is the latest in a barrage of criticism from France following Australia’s decision last Thursday to pull out of the deal for 12, French-built submarines in order to forge a new defence relationship — AUKUS — with the United Kingdom and the United States, which will see Australia gain a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

The fallout has also included France recalling its ambassadors to Australia and the US at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had tried to call Mr Macron on the evening before the announcement, but France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Canberra only informed Paris one hour before Mr Morrison joined a video link-up with British counterpart Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden to announce the new deal. 

Mr Grandjean told the ABC on the same day AUKUS was announced, the French had been reassured by Australian officials the submarine program was continuing as planned.

“We received an official letter from the Australian ministry of defence, saying that they were satisfied with the advancement of the project and with the submarine’s performance, which meant that we could launch the next phase of development of these submarines,” he said.

“We were very surprised by the announcement, which was not at all in line with the official letter we had received.

“So, yes, we do consider there was duplicity. We do consider we have been deceived.”………

…………… Mr Grandjean said that, in August this year, there was a meeting with Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her French counterpart in which there was no indication the contract was in jeopardy.

He said it also appeared none of the Australian engineers or military personnel involved in the French submarine program – which was being headed up by French defence contractor Naval Group – had any idea about the policy shift.

………. He said the AUKUS deal would be “bad news” for Australians and that, instead of getting new French submarines in 2030, Australia would likely have to wait until 2040 for nuclear-powered ones.,,,……….

September 23, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, secrets and lies

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