Great Britain

Emmanuel Macron aides brand Boris Johnson ‘opportunist’ for signing security pact with US and Australia

EMMANUEL Macron was fuming with Boris Johnson yesterday as his diplomatic spat intensified.

The French president’s aides branded the PM an “opportunist” for signing a nuclear submarine pact with the US and Australia.

And a senior French minister sneeringly branded the UK a “junior partner” in the alliance.

French Foreign Minister Le Drian added that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was the “fifth wheel on the carriage anyway.”

President Macron has recalled his US and Australian ambassadors in protest over the historic Aukus pact, which will see Australia build nuclear-powered subs for the first time to counter China’s rising military might.

France is furious over losing a multi-billion pound deal with Australia to build 12 diesel subs.

French Europe Minister Clement Beaune accused Britain of acting “opportunistically” to prove its place in the world post-Brexit.

But as France raged, Mr Johnson was preparing for a trip to the White House to launch a four-day charm offensive with US President Joe Biden.

Afghanistan and climate are high on the agenda, and the PM will make a speech at the UN.

He said last night: “My message to those I meet this week will be clear. Future generations will judge us based on what we achieve in coming months.”

Newly appointed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has defended the agreement, stating “shows our readiness to be hard-headed in defending our interests and challenging unfair practices and malign acts”. 

Writing in the Telegraph she said: “Freedoms need to be defended, so we are also building strong security ties around the world. 

“That is why last week the Prime Minister announced, alongside our friends President Biden and Prime Minister Morrison, the creation of a new security partnership called Aukus.

“It shows our commitment to security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. 

“The Prime Minister highlighted the vital strategic importance of that region when he set out his vision for Global Britain... earlier this year”. 

She added that Britain is positioning itself “at the heart of a network of economic, diplomatic and security partnerships” and pledged that the weekend will be “the start of an autumn where Global Britain plants its flag on the world stage”.

Ms Truss believes that the UK is “partnering with like-minded countries to build coalitions based on shared values and shared interests” and the deal could “create hundreds of new and high-skilled jobs, from the shipyards of Govan to the factories of Tyneside.”

Boris Johnson outlines new 'AUKUS' submarine deal​ which will enable ​Australia acquire US nuclear-powered submarines

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