US defends partnership with UK and Australia after the French blast ‘brutal’ decision

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Attempts to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines – a major step toward countering China as President Joe Biden works to build international support for its approach to Beijing – , is part of a new trilateral partnership between Australia and the United States. Kingdom, called “Ocus”.

European leaders have conveyed varying levels of dismay and feelings of boycott over the deal. An EU official indicated that they were completely unaware of the agreement. And French officials – furious that France now stands to lose the equivalent of US$65 billion in an existing deal to provide Australia with conventional submarines – say the US has agreed by signing the deal. Showed “lack of coherence”.

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Still, a senior administration official said top US officials had communicated with their counterparts in France about the new agreement before and after the announcement.

“I will leave it to our Australian partners to explain why they sought this new technology,” the official said.


Australia’s Defense Minister Peter Dutton told a news conference on Thursday that France’s decision to choose a US nuclear-powered submarine over a conventional diesel submarine is “in the best interest of our national security.”

Dutton argued that “the French have a version that was no better than the United States, operated by the United Kingdom. And in the end, the decision we have made is in the best interest of our national security.”

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The new agreement comes ahead of Biden’s scheduled meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the White House next week, two officials confirmed to Granthshala on Thursday.

A number of foreign leaders are expected to travel to the United States for next week’s UN General Assembly in New York, but many US assembly leaders are still waiting to hear if they will have a session with Biden.

The president’s attempt to thread the needle of European diplomacy and navigate a post-Brexit world has left some loyal allies who suggest that Biden’s actions have ignored his needs or that of his nationalist predecessor, the former president. Consistent with Donald Trump.

France has trained its anger about the agreement on Australia, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calling it a “real stab in the back”.

But he also had strong words for America, saying, “This brutal and one-sided decision is very similar to what Trump is doing.”

Le Drian also issued a joint statement with French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly on Wednesday, saying “the US option to exclude a European ally and a partner such as France from a structural partnership with Australia, at a time when We are facing unprecedented challenges. The Indo-Pacific region, whether in terms of our values ​​or respect for multilateralism based on the rule of law, shows a lack of cohesion that France can only note and regret. could.”

French officials have also canceled an upcoming reception at the French embassy in Washington, DC, and reduced celebrations to celebrate a Revolutionary War naval victory by the French that helped the US win its independence.

The embassy said celebrations have been made “more quiet” and a reception is planned for Friday at the ambassador’s residence to mark the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Caps. A senior French official told Granthshala that a reception on a warship in Baltimore has also been shortened, who said the changes were “to make people more comfortable”.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dismissed some of Le Drian’s comments.

Asked what Biden thinks of the Secretary of State’s remarks, Psaki said during a White House press briefing on Thursday, “The president doesn’t think much about it.”

“The President’s focus is on maintaining and continuing our close relations with France, the United Kingdom, Australia, and with leaders in France to achieve our global objectives, which include security in the Indo-Pacific. That’s what his The focus is there, and we’ll continue to work towards a productive, constructive partnership with France,” said Saki.

He stressed that it was Australia’s decision to pursue nuclear submarine technology and added that the US and France “will remain important partners.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken similarly tried to bridge the rift between the US and France, citing Paris as “an important partner” in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.

“I want to emphasize that there is no territorial division separating the interests of our Atlantic and our Pacific partners,” he said in remarks at the State Department on Thursday.

Blinken added that the US welcomes “European countries that play an important role in the Indo-Pacific”, adding that “France, in particular, is an important partner on this and many other issues that are stretching back generations, and we are in every state.” We want to find opportunities to deepen our trans-Atlantic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.”

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told a news conference on Thursday that the EU was only made aware of the alliance and was not consulted. However, he stressed the importance of the timeliness of this announcement and urged Europe to have a coordinating presence in the region.

“Of course, I understand the extent to which the French government must be dismayed, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense, I know … we will be aware and pressurized to increase our presence in the Indo-Pacific to protect there. Our interests and our values,” he said.

Borrell also said the EU was happy to cooperate on defense with Britain but there was “not much interest” on their part.

“So if they want to take part in this coordinated appearance we will be very happy. Nothing can stop us from collaborating with UK if they want. You need two to dance tango. But from our part We are ready to dance,” she added.

A US official on Thursday defended the US decision to work with traditional groups of allies as well as pursue new partnerships.

“Our administration is focused on revitalizing alliances and partnerships to support a rules-based international order. This means working with our NATO allies and the European Union as well as working through new configurations such as the Quad The aim is to strengthen long-historic ties. or AUKUS,” the official said. “This network of alliances and partnerships is our greatest source and strength and is essential to effectively address the challenges of the 21st century.”

Granthshala’s Jeff Zeleny, Katya Krebs, Jennifer Hansler, Alex Marquardt, Kylie Atwood and Hande Atay Alam contributed to this report.


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