French President Emmanuel Macron said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lied to him about a canceled submarine deal.
Asked if he thinks Mr. Morrison is false, the president replied, “I don’t think so, I know.”
Macron raged after Australia canceled a $ 37 billion (£ 27 billion) deal to build 12 submarines and instead negotiated a new defense pact with the US and the UK, the so-called Aukus.
The couple’s meeting at the G20 summit was the first since the September quarrel.
On the sidelines of the rally in Rome, an Australian journalist asked President Macron if he could trust Morrison again.
“We’ll see what it delivers,” Macron replied.
“I have a lot of respect for your country. I have a lot of respect and a lot of friendship for your people. I’m just saying that when we have respect, you have to be sincere and you have to behave in line and consistently with this value.”
I ask French President Emmanuel Macron if Scott Morrison lied to him: “I don’t think so, I know.” pic.twitter.com/3tcg4xrl90
– Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) October 31, 2021
The canceled deal has opened a bitter rift between France, Australia and the United States.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian denounced the decision as “a stab in the back” and Paris temporarily recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the United States.
Speaking after Macron’s comments, Scott Morrison told reporters that he had not lied to the president and had previously explained to him that conventional submarines would no longer meet Australia’s defense needs, according to the Reuters news agency.
He added that the rebuilding of trust and relations between the two nations had already begun.
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On Friday, US President Joe Biden also held his first face-to-face meeting with Macron since the Aukus Pact was agreed.
During the seemingly awkward exchange, Biden admitted that the United States was “clumsy” in the negotiations. Macron said it was important to “look to the future”.
Leaders will have more time to mend relations, as all three are heading to the Scottish city of Glasgow for the COP26 climate change summit.
The Aukus Pact will allow Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, using technology provided by the United States. It will also cover artificial intelligence and other technologies and is one of Australia’s largest defense partnerships in decades.
The pact scuttled an agreement signed by Australia in 2016 for France to build 12 conventional submarines.
It is widely seen as an effort to counter China’s growing military might. China condemned the deal as “extremely irresponsible”.
- Emmanuel Macron
- United States
- Scott Morrison
First Franco-Australian talks after the submarine quarrel
- 3 days ago
United Kingdom, United States and Australia launch a pact to counter China
- September 16
The Aukus Pact could signal a shift in power in Asia-Pacific
- September 16
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