France calls off meeting with Swiss president over jet snub: media
A long-planned meeting between the Swiss president and his counterpart in Paris has been called off due to French anger about Bern’s decision to purchase US, not French, fighter jets, media reported Sunday.
Two Swiss dailies, Le Matin Dimanche and SonntagsZeitung, reported that the French had pulled the plug on Swiss President and Economic Affairs Minister Guy Parmelin’s talks with President Emmanuel Macron in November.
Citing unnamed diplomatic sources, both newspapers said that France had opted to drop the meeting due to anger over how the Swiss had conducted their negotiations in the run-up to their June decision to buy 36 Lockheed Martin F35A jets.
According to the sources, Paris charged that the Swiss defence ministry had continued negotiations with other manufacturers, including with French Rafale maker Dassault, after the decision had already been reached to buy the US fighters.
Parmelin’s office at the economic affairs ministry confirmed that the meeting with Macron would not go ahead, but stressed that the scheduling had not been completed, meaning it was not considered “a cancellation of a confirmed appointment.”
It also highlighted that the visit had not been billed as a state visit, but simply as “a working visit by the president”.
The reports come as France is locked in a tense standoff with the United States and Australia over Canberra’s decision to break a deal for French submarines in favour of American nuclear-powered vessels.