Biden, Morrison, Johnson Celebrate Sub Deal That Angered France
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden and the leaders of Australia and the U.K. celebrated their new defense pact in meetings on Tuesday, predicting an agreement that’s angered France would nonetheless benefit the world.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at the White House that the deal, which calls for the U.S. and U.K. to provide nuclear submarines to Australia, “has great potential to benefit the whole of the world in security.”
The arrangement displaced a $66 billion deal between Australia and France for a diesel-powered submarine fleet. France withdrew its ambassador to Washington for the first time on Friday in protest and asked that a summit between the U.S. and European Union scheduled for later this month be postponed.
Earlier Tuesday in a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison nodded at the French concerns.
“Our partnership reaches out to so many others, whether it be our friends in in the ASEAN nations, or Europe or elsewhere, where we share so many like-minded interests,” he said.
Morrison has defended the deal with the U.S., saying he made the decision to abandon the French contract and pursue U.S.-built subs because it was in Australia’s national defense interest.
French officials have complained they were blindsided by Australia’s agreement with the U.S. The White House has said it was Morrison’s obligation to inform them he was ending their sub deal.
Biden is set to speak to French President Emmanuel Macron within days.
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