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France ‘regrets' AUKUS nuclear submarine deal that killed its multi-billion ‘contract of century' with Australia

Added 09-15-21 08:37:04pm EST - “A new plan to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines using US and UK technology may be aimed to counter China, but steps on the toes of NATO ally France, which lost a massive shipbuilding contract with Canberra.” - Rt.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Rt.com: “France ‘regrets’ AUKUS nuclear submarine deal that killed its multi-billion ‘contract of century’ with Australia”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his British counterpart Boris Johnson announced the ‘AUKUS’ initiative in a three-way virtual event on Wednesday. It is supposed to start 18-month consultations to eventually provide Australia with nuclear-powered but conventionally armed submarines – making it the first non-atomic nation with such weapons.

French shipbuilder Naval Group reportedly expressed “disappointment” at the announcement, as it meant Canberra was abandoning their contract for a dozen diesel-electric submarines. The Australian press has reported the value of that contract at $90 billion AUS (56 billion euros, or $66 billion US).

The Naval Group contract was personally backed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who promised “full and complete” commitment to it as recently as June, according to AFP – even as Australia was already in talks with London and Washington, apparently.

Canberra’s “regrettable” decision was “contrary to the letter and the spirit of the cooperation which prevailed between France and Australia,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said in a joint response to the AUKUS announcement.

Part of the problem with the Naval Group deal was that the Australian government was insisting on doing the manufacturing and sourcing the components locally, according to Reuters. At least one Australian MP has already wondered whether Canberra will make the same demands in the AUKUS deal, or simply buy off-the-shelf designs from Washington and London. 

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