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Get a grip, PM Johnson tells France after submarine row

·1 min read

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told France on Wednesday to get a grip and give allies in the United States and Australia a break over a row about a trilateral nuclear submarine deal that tore up a separate French contract.

The new defence partnership between Britain, the United States and Australia was announced last week and will give Australia access to nuclear powered submarine technology.

France accused U.S. President Joe Biden of stabbing it in the back and acting like his predecessor Donald Trump after Paris was pushed aside from a historic defence export contract to supply Australia with submarines.

Paris recalled ambassadors from the United States and Australia.

Speaking a day after he met Biden in Washington, Johnson told reporters: "I just think it's time for some of our dearest friends around the world to 'prenez un grip' about all this, 'donnez-moi un break', because this is fundamentally a great step forward for global security." He was translating the English phrases 'get a grip' and 'give me a break' literally into French.

"It is not trying to shoulder anybody out, it is not adversarial towards China, for instance, it is there to intensify links and friendship between three countries," he said. (Reporting by William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper)