søndag 19. september 2021

Aukus: French minister condemns US and Australia 'lies' over security pact

France's foreign minister has accused Australia and the US of lying over a new security pact that prompted Paris to recall its ambassadors.Jean-Yves Le Drian also accused the countries of "duplicity, a major breach of trust and contempt". The pact, known as Aukus, thwarted a multibillion-dollar deal France had signed with Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had acted in the country's national interests. He insisted the French government "would have had every reason to know that we had deep and grave concerns" that the $37bn (£27bn) deal signed in 2016 - for France to build 12 conventional submarines - "was not going to meet our strategic interests. Of course it's a matter of great disappointment to the French government, so I understand their disappointment," he said. "But at the same time, Australia like any sovereign nation must always take decisions that are in our sovereign national defence interest."

The Aukus agreement - which also includes the UK - will see Australia being given the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines as a way of countering China's influence in the contested South China Sea.