The two countries have signed a defence cooperation pact after Australia cancelled a $90B French submarine contract following Canberra’s trilateral Aukus security alliance with US and UK.

A tugboat escorts French Navy ship Vendemiaire (F734), a Floreal-classlight surveillance frigate of the French Marine Nationale, upon its arrival for a five-day goodwill visit at a port in Metro Manila, Philippines, March 12, 2018.
A tugboat escorts French Navy ship Vendemiaire (F734), a Floreal-classlight surveillance frigate of the French Marine Nationale, upon its arrival for a five-day goodwill visit at a port in Metro Manila, Philippines, March 12, 2018. (Reuters)

Greece signed a deal with France to buy three new frigates as Paris seeks to bounce back from the loss of a big submarine contract with Australia.

"It contributes to European security, to the strengthening of Europe's strategic autonomy and sovereignty, and thus to international peace and security," French President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference on Tuesday with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

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'Tie us for decades'

Mitsotakis told reporters: "This will tie us for decades."

Under the agreement, Athens also has an option to buy a fourth frigate from France. It has already ordered some 24 Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets this year, making it the first European Union country to buy the warplane.

French media reported the deal with Greece could worth be as much as $5.86 billion, easing some of the pain for Naval Group, the company that had been due to build submarines under the lost multi-billion-euro deal with Canberra.

On Australia's move, Macron said it will not change France's strategy in Indo-Pacific region, adding the deal cancellation would have a relatively limited impact on France, concerning a few hundred jobs.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies