Macron says Australia’s Morrison lied about submarine deal
French President Emmanuel Macron said that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lied about the submarine deal that scuppered relations between the countries last month.
“I have a lot of respect for your country. I have a lot of respect and a lot of friendship for your people. I just say when we have respect … you have to behave in line and consistently with this value,” Macron told reporters, speaking about Australia and its prime minister.
“Do you think he lied to you?” a reporter asked the French president.
“I don’t think, I know,” Macron answered.
I ask French President Emmanuel Macron whether Scott Morrison lied to him: “I don’t think, I know.” pic.twitter.com/3tcg4xrl90
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) October 31, 2021
Morrison disputed Macron’s remarks, claiming he had expressed to the French president that conventional submarines France was building for Australia wouldn’t suffice, Reuters reported.
Macron’s stinging remarks illustrate France’s lasting frustration over a deal announced in September. Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced a trilateral partnership to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines, effectively throwing out a previous deal France had secured with Australia.
The deal blindsided France, and the country recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the U.S. in response. However, France’s ambassador to the U.S. later returned to Washington, D.C.
During a one-on-one meeting between President Biden and Macron in Italy, Biden reiterated that France was an important partner to the U.S. and called the way the deal, dubbed AUKUS, was handled “clumsy.”
“I think what happened was, to use an English phrase, what we did was clumsy,” Biden said on Friday. “It was not done with a lot of grace. I was under the impression certain things had happened that hadn’t happened.”
“I want to be clear: France is an extremely, an extremely valued partner,” Biden added. “We have the same values.”
“We clarified together what we had to clarify,” Macron told reporters of his meeting with Biden. “And now what’s important is precisely to be sure that such a situation will not be possible for our future.”
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