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At the Downing Street lobby briefing the prime minister’s spokesman dismissed suggestions that the Aukus pact may have damaged the UK’s relationship with France. Asked about the French government’s response to the deal (see 12.03pm), he said:
As the prime minister set out in the house, we have and continue to have a very close relationship with France. We have longstanding security and defence relationships, as exemplified by the Lancaster House treaties and as exemplified by our combined joint expeditionary force.
For an alternative view on the Aukus submarine decision to that of the French government (see 12.03pm), do read this analysis published by the Lowy Institute, an Australian foreign policy thinktank. “The single best piece of news to come out of this announcement is that Australia will cancel the Attack-class submarine program with France’s Naval Group,” Sam Roggeveen writes. “This is unquestionably a good thing. The project was going to deliver submarines too late and at eye-watering cost.”Continue reading...