France recalls ambassadors to U.S. and Australia

New deal scuttles France's contract for nuclear submarines


World News

September 17, 2021 - 4:50 PM

French President Emmanuel Macron. (Ludovic Marin/POOL/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON — France recalled its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia on Friday, an unprecedented move intended to emphasize its fury over a lost submarine contract with Sydney that the French foreign minister said was like being “stabbed in the back.”

While France and the U.S. have often been at odds in global affairs, including over the Iraq War in 2003, it is the first time Paris has ever withdrawn its ambassador in Washington, according to a senior French official.

The stunning move comes two days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined with U.S. President Joe Biden and the U.K.’s Boris Johnson to announce a new security partnership that will allow Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. The new partnership effectively scuppered Australia’s 2016 deal with French shipbuilder Naval Group to build up to 12 submarines — a project that had blown out to an estimated $66 billion.

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