Australian leader attacks Macron’s credibility

Associated Press/Aris Oikonomou

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday attacked the credibility of French President Emmanuel Macron, suggesting that Macron had anticipated “bad news” regarding a submarine deal that has strained relations between the two countries.

Morrison told local newspapers that he told Macron over dinner in June that French submarines would not meet Australia’s needs. He also said that two days prior to releasing the news that Australia was making a deal for submarines with the U.S. and the Untied Kingdom, he reached out to Macron in a text message, but the French leader replied that he was unable to take a call, The Associated Press reported.

“Should I expect good or bad news for our joint submarines ambitions?” Macron reportedly asked at the time.

A reporter asked Morrison on Tuesday why he decided to divulge details of the text messages shortly after Macron criticized him, but the Australian leader batted away the question, according to AP.

“I’m not going to indulge your editorial on it, but what I’ll simply say is this: We were contacted when we were trying to set up the … call and he made it pretty clear that he was concerned that this would be a phone call that could result in the decision of Australia not to proceed with the contract,” Morrison said.

Morrison’s comments come as an Australian newspaper attempted to cast doubt on an explanation that President Biden gave last week. Biden said that he believed Macron was informed of the deal between the U.S. and Australia long before it was announced in September.

Earlier this week, Macron claimed that Morrison lied about the nature of the deal.

“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. 

Tags Australia Emmanuel Macron Emmanuel Macron France Joe Biden submarine deal

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