Truss defends ‘stubborn’ security pact with US and Australia
New Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has launched a strong defense of the UK’s security pact with the US and Australia amid a growing diplomatic row with France.
Ms Truss said the deal – which will see the UK and the US cooperate to develop a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian Navy – shows Britain is ready to be ‘stubborn’ To defend its interests.
The deal infuriated Paris after the Australians announced they were withdrawing from a £ 30 billion deal with the French to supply it with less efficient diesel-electric vessels with conventional propulsion.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Ms Truss, who was the big winner in Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle, made no mention of the diplomatic standoff with the French.
Earlier, however, a French minister scornfully called the UK a ‘junior partner’ in the trilateral deal – known as the Aukus – and accused it of returning to hide in ‘American knees’. .
In her article, Ms Truss said the deal, widely seen as an obstacle to the Chinese military’s assertiveness in the region, underscored the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific.
She said Britain will always be a “fierce champion” of freedom and free enterprise in the world.
“But freedoms must be defended, so we are also building strong security links around the world,” she wrote.
“That is why last week the Prime Minister, along with our friends President Biden and Prime Minister Morrison, announced the creation of a new security partnership called Aukus.
“It shows that we are ready to show determination to defend our interests and challenge unfair practices and malicious acts. “
President Emmanuel Macron responded to the pact by ordering the recall of France’s ambassadors in Washington and Canberra – a virtually unprecedented move among such close allies.
There was, however, no similar order to return to Paris for the French envoy to London.
But in a series of scathing talks with French television, Europe Minister Clément Beaune suggested it was because the UK was the ‘junior partner’ that had accepted its ‘vassalization’ by the States. United.
“Our British friends told us that they were leaving the EU to create Global Britain. We can see that this is a return to the American fold and an accepted form of vassalization, ”he declared.
“The UK is clearly trying to find its feet, maybe there was a lack of thinking about the strategic future. Today, they are hiding in the American fold. I hope that will not be their policy for decades to come.
He later added: “We see through this partnership, this strategic alliance and after the Kabul crisis, that Global Britain appears to be more of a junior US partner than working with different allies. “
In the Commons Thursday, Boris Johnson sought to iron out differences, insisting that relations with France remained “rock solid” while Downing Street described Paris as “a close ally and friend” of the UK.
Nonetheless, the Prime Minister has also made it clear that he expects the deal to bring “hundreds” of highly skilled jobs to Britain – jobs that could very well have gone to France.
The French were said to have been furious that they not only lost the contract, but only received a few hours’ notice of the new deal ahead of what is expected to be a difficult election year for Mr Macron.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was “a stab in the back” and “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners”.
The pact between the UK, US and Australia has been widely seen as an attempt to counter China’s growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
Beijing quickly denounced the initiative as “extremely irresponsible” and a threat to regional peace and stability.
Mr Johnson, however, said it was not an “accusatory” measure against China or any other power.