The French ambassador to Australia, Mr. Thébault, who was recalled earlier over the submarine contract controversy, was recently re-assigned to Australia and denounced in an interview that it was naive of Australia not to discuss with France before tearing up the contract.
He also said that he would re-evaluate diplomatic relations.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) yesterday published an interview with Thébault in which he described France’s diplomatic relations as being in crisis and that he had been given clear instructions to re-evaluate everything, saying it was naive to say that Australia had not kept its word on important matters and that it was impossible to consult France before announcing the formation of an Indo-Pacific military alliance with the United States and Britain.
If you (Australia) don’t want to listen to me, fine, then listen to US President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State John Blinken, who also said that things should be handled differently and that they should be consulted first,” he said.
French President Macron has so far refused to speak to Australian Prime Minister Morrison on the phone, and Australian Trade Minister Dionne has cancelled some meetings during his visit to France. Thébault said that France and Australia regularly exchange international terrorism and military intelligence, and that France is considered to be part of the Five Eyes Alliance, an intelligence alliance, and that their security ties were strong enough for Australia to discuss the contract with France earlier.
He believes that the issue of mutual trust between the two countries goes beyond the submarine contract, and that Australia needs to change its attitude and France needs to ensure that the relationship is solid and that there are no further problems.