French Blindsided as AUKUS Details Were Discussed at G7 Summit Leaving Macron Out - Report
03:10 GMT 19.09.2021 (Updated: 15:24 GMT 28.05.2023)
A new security pact between Australia, the UK and the US was announced without warning earlier this week. France, which, until the announcement, had a $66 billion contract to supply Australia with attack submarines, found itself denied the windfall by the agreement between the three countries.
The details of AUKUS, abbreviated from the member country names, were not known by French President Emmanuel Macron at the June G7 summit in Cornwall, South West England, where they were reportedly discussed, The Sunday Telegraph reported
According to the report, despite a friendly and productive June summit between US President Joe Biden and Macron, which prompted several media outlets to describe their relationship as a "bromance," there existed on the sidelines a clandestine negotiation between British PM Johnson, Biden, and Australian PM Scott Morrison, in which the nuclear submarine accord was discussed in private.
Despite warnings that a deal of this kind could harm
relations with China and Paris, then-UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab participated in the negotiations discussed at the G7 summit, and all relevant AUKUS documents were classified "top secret," according to The Telegraph.
New UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also wrote
in her commentary in the newspaper, defending the new agreement by stating that AUKUS "shows our readiness to be hard-headed in defending our interests and challenging unfair practices and malign acts."
“Freedoms need to be defended, so we are also building strong security ties around the world. That is why last week the Prime Minister announced, alongside our friends President Biden and Prime Minister Morrison, the creation of a new security partnership called Aukus.”
According to the foreign secretary's commentary, the UK is partnering with "like-minded countries to build coalitions based on shared values and shared interests," while the pact and the submarine deal would "create hundreds of new and high-skilled jobs, from the shipyards of Govan to the factories of Tyneside."
Johnson and Truss are scheduled to travel to the US for the UN General Assembly in New York on Sunday, and Johnson is likely to meet
Biden at the White House. The prime minister reportedly plans to use the trip to galvanize support for climate action ahead of the COP26 meeting in November.
Truss claimed in her article that the UK is putting itself "at the heart of a network of economic, diplomatic, and security partnerships," and that this weekend will mark the "start of an autumn wherein Global Britain plants its flag on the world stage."
On Friday, France branded the agreement "unacceptable behavior between allies and partners," as Macron recalled
the country's ambassadors from Washington and Canberra.
On Saturday, France's Europe minister, Clement Beaune, branded Britain a "junior partner" in the agreement, alleging that the UK had joined the trilateral agreement "opportunistically" to justify its post-Brexit standing. France's foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said that Paris chose not to recall its ambassador to London because it was aware of
the UK's "permanent opportunism." Johnson, he claimed, was a "fifth wheel on the wagon."
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States make up the G7. The leaders of the European Union, as well as guest nations such as South Korea, Australia and South Africa, attended the summit in Cornwall, which took place June 11-13.