France cancels defense meeting with UK - sources

A Franco-British defense ministers' summit due to take place this week has been cancelled by Paris.

That's according to sources familiar with the matter.

France called off the meeting as its anger boils over about Australia's decision to scrap a multi-billion dollar submarine order for an alternative one with Britain and the U.S.

The sources said French Armed Forces minister Florence Parly personally took the decision to drop the meeting with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

The French defense ministry could not be immediately reached.

The British defense ministry declined to comment.

The scrapping of the $40 billion dollar submarine contract has triggered a diplomatic crisis, with Paris recalling its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations.

Australia plans to build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with U.S. and British technology in a trilateral security partnership announced last week.

France claims not to have been consulted by its allies, while Australia says it had made clear to Paris for months its concerns over the 2016 contract.

French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden will speak by telephone in the coming days to discuss the crisis.

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