Boris Johnson tells France to get a grip over submarine snub | Metro News
The Prime Minister has dismissed France’s anger over a new submarines deal with the US and Australia.
Paris was left fuming over the agreement, which led to Australia pulling out of a £72.8billion deal to buy diesel-powered French vessels.
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused the three nations of acting like former US president Donald Trump with their ‘brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision’.
But Boris Johnson appeared unfazed as he was asked about the fallout during his visit to Washington DC.
Using Franglais, he said: ‘I just think it’s time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip (get a grip) about this and donnez-moi un break (give me a break).
‘Because this is fundamentally a great step forward for global security. It’s three very like-minded allies standing shoulder-to-shoulder, creating a new partnership for the sharing of technology.
‘It’s not exclusive. It’s not trying to shoulder anybody out. It’s not adversarial towards China, for instance.’
He added: ‘I find it very hard to see in this agreement anything not to like.’
The deal sees the three nations forming a pact to build and deploy nuclear-powered submarines to the Pacific region.
These vehicles are more advanced than their diesel counterparts because they can run more quietly and stay underwater for a longer period.
Johnson has said the Aukus military alliance has ‘great potential to benefit the whole world and that it would work ‘hand-in-glove to preserve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific’.
But as he met President Joe Biden at the Oval Office yesterday, he made no mention of France’s uproar.
Paris was so upset, it recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultation last week.
Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian describing the move as a ‘stab in the back’ from Canberra and a strain on its relationship with Washington.
He added: ‘We had established a relationship of trust with Australia, this trust has been betrayed.’
Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, also said he was disappointed to learn of the new deal through the media.
He said: ‘As high representative for security, I was not aware and I assume that an agreement of such a nature wasn’t just brought together overnight. I think it would have been worked on for quite a while.
‘We regret not having been informed – not having been part of these talks. We weren’t included, we weren’t part and parcel of this.’
He said this made it even more important for the European Union to develop its own defence and security strategies.
Johnson is currently in the US capital having travelled to New York for the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.
Climate change will be a big focus of the meeting of world leaders, with the PM vowing to call for ‘concrete action on coal, climate, cars and trees’.
He called on other countries to step up their efforts to cut carbon emissions ahead of the crunch COP26 summit in Glasgow in November this year.
Johnson had a one-to-one meeting with President Biden in the White House, in which they discussed a wide range of topics, including the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
However the PM had little hope of making progress on a post-Brexit free trade deal with the US, something supporters of leaving the EU said would be a great opportunity for Britain.
Johnson accepted earlier that Biden has ‘a lot of fish to fry’, but the President had an additional warning.
Biden – who is very proud of his Irish heritage – has expressed concerns about Britain’s handling of the Northern Ireland peace process following Brexit.
He warned there would be no trade deal if stability in the region is jeopardised by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, particularly the introduction of a closed border.
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