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Pavel Timofeyev: The AUUKUS deal is a strong political blow for France

"France in concerned about the developing trend of U.S.-Chinese confrontation, both trade and political. It would like to avoid division of the world into American and Chinese areas of influence, including in the Indo-Pacific region. The main goal of engaging France in the region is not just to protect its interests, but also to create a provisional third power, which could balance the U.S. and Chinese influence. France saw that third power in the alliance with Australia and ASEAN countries. What happened has become a serious political blow", Dr. Pavel Timofeyev, Head of the Section for Regional Issues and Conflicts of the Department for European Political Studies at Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations RAS, described a position of France after signing of the AUUKUS agreement by the U.S., the UK and Australia during the "Expert's Opinion" show today, on September 30.

The Gorchakov Fund continues analyzing importance of the AUUKUS agreement among the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia for France. Last time we discussed the new tripartite agreement with Dr. Alexey Kupriyanov, Head of the Group on South Asia and Indian Ocean at the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at Primakov IMEMO RAS.

The U.S.-UK-Australia submarine deal resulted in termination of a multibillion agreement with Paris by Canberra. French Foreign Minister Jean-Ives Le Drian called it a "stab in the back", and for the first time in 243 years France withdrew its ambassador to Washington. The French elite feels betrayed, and French President Emmanuel Macron has got a strong "political slap".

"The deal has become a strong political slap not only for Macron himself, but for all French diplomacy. On the European arena, Macron will try to compensate for what he has lost in a political perspective in the Indo-Pacific region and will do everything he can to advance the European military autonomy".
Not that long ago Switzerland terminated the purchase contract for French fighter aircrafts. Bern decided to chose American bombers. According to the experts, that situation is not a link in the same chain.
"This case is interesting from the point of view of how successfully France can lobby interests of European companies in order to deliver defense-industry goods of the European Union to European countries. We can see that it is very far from that if Switzerland, which is neither a member of the EU or NATO, buys U.S. aircrafts".
When speaking about Russian-French rapprochement on the background of current events, Timofeyev said:

"Despite the fact that the transatlantic relations are tense, it would be naive to expect an automatic breakthrough in the France's position towards Russia".

A recording of the show is available on the YouTube channel of the Fund.