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

Iran PressEurope: A Franco-British defence ministers’ summit due to take place this week has been canceled as Paris steps up its protests over the loss of a £48bn submarine contract with Australia and its secret replacement with nuclear technology from the UK and US, the Guardian reported.

Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Secretary, and French Armed Forces Minister, Florence Parly, had been due to hold a bilateral meeting in London and to address the two-day Franco-British Council, now the latest casualties of the diplomatic row.

The council was also due to be attended by defence chiefs from both countries, the two largest military powers in western Europe. The co-chair Peter Ricketts, a former UK national security adviser, confirmed the elite gathering had been “postponed to a later date”.

Without the event going ahead, it is understood that Parly’s planned trip to London is deemed to have become redundant.

Earlier on Sunday, British sources said they had hoped the meetings would proceed.

“We have a strong and close working defence partnership with the French as trusted allies,” one of the British sources said.

But Paris is incensed after Australia abandoned a lucrative but troubled contract for new diesel submarines with a French contractor to switch to the nuclear-powered alternative after six months of secret negotiations with the UK and US.

France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia over the weekend, plunging relations between the countries to an almost unheard of low. The cancellation of the defence summit demonstrates there will also be repercussions for the UK, which could yet deepen as the row continues.


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