‘Donnez-moi un break’: Boris Johnson dismisses Emmanuel Macron’s concerns over Australian submarine deal

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside the Capitol Building, Washington DC (PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside the Capitol Building, Washington DC (PA) (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson has dismissed French anger about the Australian submarines deal, insisting Emmanuel Macron should “get a grip”.

The Prime Minister used Franglais as he urged “some of our dearest friends” to calm down over the issue.

The Australia-UK-US Aukus pact saw Sydney decide to pursue the development of nuclear-powered submarines at the expense of a deal with France to provide diesel-electric boats.

The diplomatic fallout has seen France recall its ambassadors from Australia and the US and postpone high-level meetings.

Speaking to reporters in Washington the Prime Minister said: “I just think it’s time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip (get a grip) about this and donnez-moi un break (give me a break).

“Because this is fundamentally a great step forward for global security. It’s three very like-minded allies standing shoulder-to-shoulder, creating a new partnership for the sharing of technology.

“It’s not exclusive. It’s not trying to shoulder anybody out. It’s not adversarial towards China, for instance.”

Mr Macron’s office said the president expected “clarifications and clear commitments” from Joe Biden in a call to be held later on Wednesday to address the dispute.

His spokespeople said the call - which was requested by the US President - is to discuss "the crisis of trust" that led to the unprecedented recall of the French ambassador to the US last week.

Mr Macron expects “clarifications on the American choice to keep a European ally away from key exchanges on an Indo-Pacific cooperation,” the statement said.

The defence deal between the US, Australia and Britain was announced by the countries’ leaders last week, with France being formally informed only a few hours beforehand, according to French diplomats.

The pact will see Australia cancel a multibillion-dollar contract to buy diesel-electric French submarines and acquire US nuclear-powered vessels instead.

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