Daily US Times: Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, has said Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison lied to him about a scrapped submarine deal.
Asked whether he thinks the Australian PM was untruthful, the president replied: “I don’t think, I know.”
Mr Macron was furious after Australia cancelled a $37bn deal to build 12 submarines, and instead negotiated a new defence agreement with the UK and the US – the so-called Aukus.
Scott Morrison denies that he was dishonest.
Both leaders at the G20 summit in Rome for the first time since the row erupted in September.
On the sidelines of the gathering, Mr Macron was asked by an Australian journalist whether he could trust Mr Morrison again.
Mr Macron answered, “We will see what he will deliver,” adding that “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 be true and you have to behave in line and consistently with this value.”
The cancelled submarine deal launched a bitter rift between Australia, France and the US.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Foreign Minister, denounced the decision as “a stab in the back”, and Paris temporarily recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the US.
Speaking after the French President’s comments, Scott Morrison told reporters he had not lied to Mr Macron, and that he had previously explained to him that conventional submarines would no longer meet Australia’s defence needs.
Mr Morrison added that rebuilding the trust and relationship between the two nations had already begun.
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