France and Australia will turn the page on the Aukus crisis

After the row caused by the Aukus affair, the paths to Franco-Australian rapprochement will soon pass through Ukraine. France and Australia announced on Monday 30 January in Paris that they intended to deliver together “several thousands” of 155 mm shells, ammunition requested by Kyiv to meet the Russian army. The decision was revealed after a meeting between the French and Australian defense and foreign ministers, the first in this format since the crisis that occurred in September 2021, following the announcement of an agreement with the United States, the United States and the United Kingdom to equip Australia with nuclear power. -powered submarines. The alliance (dubbed “Aukus”, for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States), then negotiated in utmost secrecy by the former Conservative government, had been viewed by Paris as a “stab in the back”since in particular it had led to the termination of a very important contract previously signed with France for the supply of 12 conventional submarines.

It is the first time that the two countries have cooperated in this way to help Kiev, almost a year after the invasion launched by Russia. The contract will be executed by French Next using Australian powder. The first shells to be produced jointly should be delivered by the end of March. To support Ukraine is “a matter of importance to all countries, especially to small and medium-sized powers, which are highly dependent on compliance with international rules, including the United Nations Charter”explained, in an interview with Worldthe Australian Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, after a meeting with her French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, and with the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu.

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Canberra’s military aid to Ukraine, she said, amounts to about 475 million Australian dollars (308 million euros), plus 65 million in humanitarian aid. For her, this support is a “a matter of principle” and “expression of a community of values ​​and interests” with France: “It’s a matter of seeing if the states respect the UN Charter, which protects our sovereignty against the aggressions. »

“Reconstitution of the World Order”

Received in Paris before going to London on Tuesday, Mme Wong and his defense colleague, Richard Marles, thus sought, together with their French colleagues, to “rebuilding the relationship” French-Australian following the visit to the Elysée by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on 1eh July 2022. They also indicated that the new government had no intention of equipping itself with conventional submarines, pending the delivery, at an as yet uncertain date, of the nuclear-powered submarines promised by London and Washington. A way to answer Emmanuel Macron, who in mid-November, during a trip to Bangkok, had made it known that the French offer was “always on the table”, despite the breach of contract, ended as soon as the new government took office.

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