Calm down, Emmanuel! Macron put in his place as Liz Truss rages at petty submarine row

The Foreign Secretary said the submarine contract was “ultimately” the decision of Canberra as she criticised the reaction from across the Channel. France was caught off-guard when the Aukus defence packed was unveiled between the UK, US and Australia last month.

The deal committed London and Washington to help the Southern Hemisphere ally to build its first nuclear-powered subs.

It effectively ripped up an agreement already in place for Paris to provide Canberra with conventional diesel-powered submarines.

President Macron was left furious by the deal, with France accusing Australia of a “stab in the back”.

Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described it as “unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners”.


Embarrassed at being ditched, the country recalled its US and Australian ambassadors.

It also pulled out of defence talks with the UK.

Speaking on the fringes of the Conservative party conference, Ms Truss said: “The relationship with the French is a relationship between Australia and France.

“Ultimately it is for Australia as a sovereign nation to make their own decisions about how they equip their submarine fleet.

“It wasn’t a matter for the United Kingdom or the United States.

“We were not part of that contract.

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The remarks echoed similar views expressed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in September.

Speaking to the media while visiting the United Nations in New York, he told President Macron to “get a grip and give me a break”.

In mocked-up French he told “our dearest friends” to “prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break”.

Under the Aukus alliance, the three western allies will work “hand-in-glove to preserve security and stability”.

It will help to combat Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

The UK has built and operated nuclear-powered submarines for over 60 years.

It is expected the Aukus agreement will create hundreds of highly skilled scientific and engineering roles across the UK.

Strengthening links with countries such as Australia is a part of Mr Johnosn’s strategy to adopt an “Indo-Pacific” tilt to the UK’s foreign policy.

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