Blinken recalls that “France is a vital partner”

Antony Blinken before the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington, September 14.

© Tom Williams
Antony Blinken before the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington, September 14.

In full tension with France Antony Blinken rhymes “diplomacy” with “cuddle therapy”. While the French government stepped up to the plate on Thursday following the announcement of an alliance with the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia dropping a juicy contract of nearly 56 billion euros between Canberra and the French Naval group, Washington tries to reassure Paris. In front of the American press, the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken assured that France is “A vital partner” of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region.

“There is no regional division between the interests of our Atlantic and peaceful partners”, he then added ensuring that “this partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom shows that we want to work with our partners, including in Europe, to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific zone ”.

“Key partner”

However, Paris does not take offense at this project which torpedoed a huge order of submarines from Australia to France, considered “the contract of the century”. On Thursday, the reactions were very strong on the French government side and this, as much against Canberra, accused of breaking the given word, as against US President Joe Biden. “It’s really, in good French, a blow in the back” the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking on France Info, got angry, at the passage of “Anger, with a lot of bitterness”. At the same time, on RFI, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, deplored “Very bad news for the respect of the given word” and a decision «grave» in international politics. “The French had a version that was no better than that used by the US and UK, and ultimately our decision was based on what is in the best interests of our country. national security ” for his part, explained the Australian Minister of Defense Peter Dutton to justify such a turnaround.

“We salute the European countries which play an important role in the Indo-Pacific zone, and we want to continue close cooperation with NATO, with the European Union and with others in this regard”, insisted Antony Blinken, who received the Australian Foreign and Defense Ministers. Earlier in the day, US President Joe Biden had already tried to calm Paris, calling France a “key partner”. Followed closely by the British Minister of Defense, Ben Wallace who assured that «[le Royaume-Uni n’[a] no intention of doing anything that might upset the French ”. Without much success.

In Washington, a Gala at the French Embassy canceled

Furious at President Biden’s announcement of the deal in question, French officials in Washington angrily canceled a gala at their Washington embassy on Thursday to protest what they are calling “A rash and sudden political decision that resembles those of former President Donald Trump”. It must be said that the new security partnership inflicts a major setback to the strategy of Paris in the Indo-Pacific zone where the United States seeks to counter the growing ambitions of China in the region.

During this same press conference, the American Minister of Defense Lloyd Austin has, in fact, once again denounced “China’s destabilizing activities and Beijing’s efforts to pressure and intimidate other countries” confirming that Washington was going “develop” son “access” and his “Presence in Australia”. Beijing, which obviously takes a dim view of the new alliance, denounced “An arms race”. “Cooperation between the United States, Great Britain and Australia on nuclear submarines seriously undermines regional peace and stability,” […] and undermines international nuclear non-proliferation efforts ”, Chinese diplomacy spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

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