France said Wednesday that its ambassador to Australia would return to his post, ending a diplomatic protest over Canberra's decision to scrap a contract to buy French submarines.

France recalled its envoy to Australia on September 17, but Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament he had "now asked our ambassador to return to Canberra with two objectives: helping to define our relationship with Australia in the future ... and firmly defend our interests in the implementation of Australia's decision to terminate the submarine programme."