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'Aukus a stab in the back', France recalls envoys from US, Australia
France says what is more humiliating than the loss of the submarine contract is the way it was kept out of the talks among the three countries. An Australian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Australia values its relationship with France and "we look forward to engaging with France again." The US said it regretted the French action.

PARIS, Sept 18: An infuriated France has recalled its ambassadors in the US and Australia, protesting over the Aukus pact signed among the US, the UK and Australia that leads to cancellation of Australian contract to a French firm worth 90 billion Australian dollar (USD 66 billion) for building a fleet of diesel submarines.

The Aukus alliance is primarily aimed at strengthening the security of the Indo-Pacific region but it entails the US and the UK helping the Aussies to assemble nuclear-submarines using the latest technology. Nuclear-submarines can move undetected under water.

The pact was done on Thursday by US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the pact as a "stab in the back." He said the ambassadors were being recalled at the request of President Emmanuel Macron.

"The deal constitute unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners whose consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe", Mr Le Drian said.

The pact makes Australia the seventh nation in the world to operate nuclear-powered submarines. It is also seen as targeting China for its aggresive claims over South China Sea.

It is said what is more humiliating to France than the loss of the submarine contract is the way it was kept in the dark deliberately in secret talks between the three countries. The pact will have serious consequences and damage relations for years.

Meanwhile, Australia said it "notes with regret" France's extraordinary decision of recalling envoys. An Australian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Australia values its relationship with France and "we look forward to engaging with France again."

A White House official said the US regretted the French action.

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