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French Defence Ministry Cancels Meeting with the UK for Submarine Row

The French Defence Ministry cancelled the meeting after Australia scrapped a submarine order with Paris in favour of a deal with Washington and London. The planned meeting was between the Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart planned for this week. Sources said that Parly decided to drop the bilateral meeting with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

The French Defence Ministry did not pass any comment. The British ministry declined to comment. The Act of discarding the multi-billion-dollar submarine contract was struck in 2016. This has alarmed a diplomatic crisis, with Paris recalling its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra.France claims not to have been consulted by its allies, while Australia says it had made clear to Paris for months its concerns over the contract. The French government’s spokesman said on Sunday that the French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden will speak by telephone in the coming days to deal with the crisis.

French Defence Ministry met her counterpart in Mali on Monday in the midst of rising tensions with the war-torn Sahel state over reports that it plans to hire Russian mercenaries and the potential for delayed elections. Former colonial power France last week warned Bamako against signing a deal with private-security firm Wagner, after claims that Mali’s army-dominated government is close to hiring 1,000 paramilitaries.

French Defence Ministry Florence Parly told reporters after meeting Mali’s Defense Minister Colonel Sadio Camara said that they had been frank, direct and complete exchange. France has thousands of troops stationed in Mali. Parly told the journalists that she was travelling to the country to play back her government’s opposition to Wagner.

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