politics

Boris Johnson offers France olive branch after furious backlash to submarine deal


Britain and the US struck a security pact with Australia to provide nuclear-powered submarines but China and France are among the countries that have slammed the move

Boris Johnson posts images to Instagram of him visiting a submarine in Scotland.
Boris Johnson has defended the deal which cost France a multi billion Euro contract

Boris Johnson has offered France an olive branch after it reacted furiously to a UK-brokered submarine deal which saw them lose a £47bn contract.

The Prime Minister insisted the UK’s relationship with its closest neighbour was “absolutely vital” as he listed joint defence projects.

Britain and the US last week struck a security pact with Australia which includes the US providing nuclear-powered submarines, a show of strength aimed at China.

But the AUKUS deal sparked a diplomatic row with France as it meant Canberra cancelled a £47bn order with Paris to provide diesel-powered subs.

France labelled Britain a “vassal” to the United States for its role in the deal but dismissed Britain as a “junior partner” in the trilateral relationship.








French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)



A furious French President Emmanuel Macron recalled his country’s ambassadors to the US and America.

But French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it had opted not to recall it’s top diplomat in the UK because it was familiar with Britain’s “permanent opportunism”.

Europe minister Clement Beaune added: “We can see that this is a return into the American lap and a form of accepted vassalisation”.

Mr Johnson was asked whether he was indeed a ‘lap dog’ to US President Joe Biden on the plane to the United Nations New York.

He replied: “We are very, very proud of our relationship with France and it is of huge importance to this country.








Mr Johnson has been accused of being in Joe Biden’s lap
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Image:

REUTERS)



“It is a very friendly relationship – and entente cordial – that goes back a century or more and it absolutely vital for us.

“Our love of France is ineradicable and what I would say is this AUKUS is not in any way meant to be zero sum,.

“It is not meant to be exclusionary, it is not something I don’t think anyone needs to worry about and particularly not our French friends.”




The PM cited a joint defence programme with France which simulates the testing of nuclear explosions.

“It’s called the Teutates, which I think is the Gaulish god of thunder, from my studies of Asterix. We don’t actually blow anything up,” he added.

“Anyway, so this is something that goes very, very deep; our love of France, our admiration of France is ineradicable.”

Mr Macron is not expected to be at the UN summit meaning Mr Johnson could avoid an embarrassing encounter.


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