PARIS — France has withdrawn an invitation to a delegation of Polish officials for the upcoming Euronaval trade show, reflecting anger over Warsaw's cancellation of contract talks for the Caracal military transport helicopter, a government source said Thursday.
The government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed a media report the authorities had withdrawn the invitation to the naval exhibition.
The Polish delegation had been among the national teams expected at Euronaval, which runs Oct. 17-21 at Le Bourget exhibition center in France.
Polish Deputy Defence Minister Bartosz Kownacki told the private news channel TVN24: "The French side officially invited us a long time ago and now they are showing us the door," Agence France-Presse reported.
The Polish decision to drop negotiations with Airbus Helicopters was "aggressive and unfair," Defence Ministry spokeswoman Valérie Lecasble told journalists. "This decision will undoubtedly have consequences on our bilateral defense relations."
France has shown solidarity with Poland through the European Union and NATO, but Warsaw has failed to reciprocate, she said, declining to comment on withdrawing the Euronaval invitation and also declining to comment on Poland’s reported relaunch of the helicopter tender.
France is reviewing its options on Poland and decisions are expected "fairly soon," she said.
The French Defense Ministry backs Euronaval, a showcase for naval equipment held every two years.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a cabinet meeting that he deplored Poland’s "unacceptable manner," which called into question an agreement that had been signed with the Caracal helicopter, government spokesman Stéphane Le Foll said Wednesday. President François Hollande canceled his Oct. 13 trip to Poland in response to Warsaw’s reversal on the helicopter deal.
Kownacki said Poland had taught the French how to use forks and perhaps that was why France had cancelled the invitation, AFP reported.
"But these are the people we taught to eat with a fork a couple of centuries ago, which may explain their behavior today," he said.
King Henry III of France, who had previously been king of Poland, had introduced the fork to the French nation in the 16th century, although that regal head of state went through Venice after leaving Poland and might have picked up the cutlery there, AFP reported.
Poland on Oct. 4 canceled talks for an offset deal tied to a planned purchase of 50 Caracals, worth 13.5 billion zloty (US $3.5 billion), sparking tense relations between Paris and Warsaw.