France Cancels Defense Meeting with United Kingdom

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France Cancels Defense Meeting with United Kingdom


France has canceled a meeting between Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart planned for this week after Australia scrapped a submarine order with Paris in favor of a deal with Washington and London, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Parly personally took the decision to drop the bilateral meeting with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, the sources said.

The French defense ministry could not be immediately reached. The British defense ministry declined comment.

The sources confirmed an earlier report in the Guardian newspaper that the meeting had been canceled.

The scrapping of the multibillion-dollar submarine contract, struck in 2016, has triggered a diplomatic row, 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.

French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden will speak by telephone in the coming days to discuss the crisis, the French government’s spokesman said on Sunday.