A meeting scheduled for this week between French Defense Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart Ben Wallace in London has been cancelled. AFP learned from a source in the Parly Ministry on Sunday evening that France has canceled the meeting.
The UK Ministry of Defense cannot confirm or deny the cancellation. Wallace is said to “continue to discuss these meetings with his French counterpart”. We continue to maintain close and fruitful defensive relations with France, which remains a staunch ally.
The French decision comes after the emergence of a diplomatic crisis between France on the one hand and the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom on the other. The last three countries announced a strategic partnership that led, among other things, to Australia canceling its 2016 purchase of 12 French submarines worth A$90 billion (€56 billion). Instead, the Australians would buy nuclear-powered submarines from the Americans.
On Saturday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke of a “serious crisis” and a “major breach of trust”. He denounced, among other things, “lies”, “deception” and “contempt” for the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Read also. France on a collision course with the US, UK and Australia: what is the submarine affair and what are the consequences? (+)