French Ambassador to Return to Australia after AUKUS Dispute

After the unprecedented recall of its ambassadors, first in modern time, that revealed the extent of French anger against its allies prompted by the security pact AUKUS, Paris will send its ambassador back to Australia, France24 reports.

Paris recalled the ambassador to the United States and Australia in mid-September in response to the trilateral partnership on security in Indian and Pacific oceans signed by the two countries and the UK, under which Australia committed to buy US-designed submarines and pulled out of an existing  $90billion submarine supply deal with a French manufacturer.

Known as AUKUS, the deal is intended to counter Chinese military power.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday he asked the ambassador to return to Canberra to redefine the terms of France’s relations with Australia for the future.

Given that the submarine deal had been part of that broader strategy, Le Drian pointed that Paris had completely reviewed its bilateral relationship with Australia, but underlined that it won’t have any impact on France’s determination to remain engaged in the Pacific

Australian government has welcomed France’s decision to return its ambassador to Canberra, stressing its hope to repair the damage caused by a cancelled submarine contract and to move beyond the recent disappointments.

Though France quickly returned its ambassador to its NATO partner the US, it had frozen its contacts with Australia and the French President Emmanuel Macron is apparently still not talking to the Australian PM Scot Morrison, who noted on Tuesday that Macron would not take his calls.

French officials have also snubbed the Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan during his visit in Paris this week while the free trade deal negotiations between Australia and the EU scheduled for this month have also been postponed to November with the chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, the German legislator Bernd Lange, pointing to the raised questions about whether Australia can be trusted.

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