Britain’s ‘love of France is ineradicable’: Boris Johnson | The Guardian Nigeria News

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson wearing a protective face covering, attends a service of Thanksgiving and Rededication to commemorate the 81st Anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey in central London on September 19, 2021. – Westminster Abbey has played a central role in remembering the sacrifice of those who fought in the battle, holding a Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication on Battle of Britain Sunday every year since 1944. (Photo by JULIAN SIMMONDS / POOL / AFP)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday played down the diplomatic rift with Paris over a new security pact with Australia and the US, saying his country’s “love of France is ineradicable”.

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Speaking to journalists as he flew to New York, Johnson insisted Britain and France have a “very friendly relationship”, which he described as being of “huge importance”.

The security agreement, and Australia’s related decision to tear up a multibillion-dollar deal for French submarines in favour of American nuclear-powered vessels, has sparked outrage in Paris, with President Emmanuel Macron recalling France’s ambassadors to Canberra and Washington in an unprecedented move.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said over the weekend that Britain was a “third wheel” in the affair, and accused London of “constant opportunism”.

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France has cancelled a meeting set for this week between its Defence Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart Ben Wallace, a source at her ministry told AFP Sunday.

But on the plane Johnson downplayed France’s concerns.

He said the pact, dubbed AUKUS, was “not in any way meant to be zero-sum, it’s not meant to be exclusionary”.

“It’s not something that anybody needs to worry about and particularly not our French friends,” he said.

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