President Biden calls Emmanuel Macron after AUKUS controversy
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The UK has formed a new security and intelligence alliance with Washington and Canberra to counter emerging threats, including in the Indo-Pacific. The agreement, also known as AUKUS, will help to tackle the rising force of China by equipping the Australian navy with eight nuclear-powered submarines – tearing up a multi-billion pound deal with France in the process.
Brexiteer Ben Harris-Quinney hailed the agreement and said Australia and the US are “far more natural partners than the EU”.
The chair of the Bow Group think-tank told Express.co.uk: “The UK holds some common interests with the US and Australia, and formal partnership makes sense on a range of issues, including defence.
“They are far more natural partners than the EU.
“Strategically the three nations span the globe, and having bases for defence operations across the world is a great advantage.
“The rise of China presents a realignment of the global order and potential strategic threats, but whilst the UK has many economic interests in the Indo-Pacific region it is not in our interests to attempt to be a policeman in the world.”
The new defence part triggered a furious response from France after Australia abandoned a deal signed in 2016 for 12 French submarines, worth around £45billion.
Mr Harris-Quinney says the security pact was not possible without Brexit as Brussels would have had the “powers to disrupt and block it” – but not anymore.
He also cautioned the Government not to get distracted by oversees issues and focus on matters closer to home.
Mr Harris-Quinney added: “It is important that any partnership must protect British interests, rather be used as a basis to get involved in more foreign conflicts like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria that have nothing to do with the British public.
“Much of this defence and security agreement relates to arms sales and trade, and Brexit makes that a lot easier with both the US and Australia.
“We know how strongly France opposes this deal, and if we had still been in the EU they would have had a lot more powers to disrupt and block it.
“It is a great example of Britain returning to work freely with more natural partners without the bureaucracy and political of the EU preventing it.”
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he has tried to arrange talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, but has been unsuccessful so far.
President Macron recalled French ambassadors from Washington and Canberra following the announcement of the AUKUS deal.
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden have also held further discussions about deepening the new military pact with Australia.
During a trip to Washington this week, the Prime Minister also ruled out allowing France to join the pact in order to calm tensions.
The US President and Mr Macron have held since clear the air talks and released a joint statement.
It said the pair “decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring confidence”.
It added Mr Biden and President Macron agreed “the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners”.
The two leaders plan to meet at the end of October in Europe.
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