French ambassador likens submarine deal cancellation to 'treason'

French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thébault publicly chided Australia on Saturday for canceling a multibillion-euro submarine contract with Paris after striking up a strategic partnership with the U.S. and the U.K.

“We have been blind-sided intentionally for 18 months,” Thébault told The Sydney Morning Herald in an interview published Saturday, citing media reports indicating the U.S. and Australia held private talks for months about the partnership while keeping France in the dark. “The crime was prepared for 18 months.”

He called the months of negotiation “treason in the making” obfuscated through “intentional double language.”

Thébault was lashing out hours before being recalled to Paris in protest of Australia’s decision, which was announced Wednesday.

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