Australian prime minister attacks French president’s credibility over submarine deal – News Couple

Australian prime minister attacks French president’s credibility over submarine deal

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivers his national statement as part of the World Leaders Summit for the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021.

Ian Forsyth | AFP | Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attacked French President Emmanuel Macron’s credibility when a newspaper carried a text message that suggested France was expecting “bad news” over a now-defunct submarine deal.

An Australian newspaper questioned President Joe Biden’s interpretation of Macron last week that the US president believed the French had been told long before the September announcement of the cancellation of its A$90 billion ($66 billion) submarine deal with Australia.

Macron this week accused Morrison of lying to him at a dinner in Paris in June about the fate of a five-year contract with French state-owned Naval Group, which has a large majority stake to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines. Australia canceled that deal when it formed an alliance with the United States and Britain to acquire a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines built with American technology.

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He made it clear to Macron at their dinner in June that conventional submarines would not meet Australia’s evolving strategic needs, Morrison told Australian reporters who accompanied him to Glasgow, Scotland, for the United Nations climate conference.

Two days before Morrison, Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the nuclear submarine deal, Morrison tried to call Macron with the news, but the French leader sent a text saying he was unavailable to take a call, an Australian newspaper reported.

“Do I expect good or bad news for our ambitions from joint submarines?” Macron asked. The newspaper reported Tuesday.

A journalist asked why Morrison decided to leak the text message after Macron accused him of lying, but the prime minister did not respond directly.

“I’m not going to get bogged down in your editorial, but what I’ll simply say is this: We were called when we were trying to set up the call… He made it clear that he was concerned that this would be a phone call that could lead to Australia’s decision not to proceed with the contract,” Morrison said. .

French officials said their government was surprised by the cancellation of the contract, which French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called a “stab in the back”.

Macron said this week that the nuclear submarine deal was “very bad news for Australia’s credibility and very bad news for the confidence that Australia’s major partners can have.”

Morrison said accusing Macron of lying, which the prime minister denies, was an insult to Australia. Most Australian observers see it as a personal insult to Morrison.

“I don’t want to personalize this, there’s no element to that in my view,” Morrison said.

“I must say that I think the statements made to question the integrity of Australia and the slanders that have been put on Australia, not me – I have broad shoulders, I can handle that – but those slanders, I’m not going to skate police in Australia. I won’t work on it. On behalf of Australians,” Morrison said. Skateboarding is a cricket term for the arbitrary needle of opponents.

Biden told Macron that the Australian Submarine Alliance was “clumsy” and “not done so nicely”.

Biden told Macron: “I had the impression that France had been told a long time ago that the (French) deal was not going to happen. I honestly didn’t know you didn’t.”

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a plenary session as part of the World Leaders Summit for the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow on November 1, 2021.

Alan Joquard | AFP | Getty Images

But the 15-page document that the White House National Security Council negotiated with Australian and British officials so far details how the world will be told about the tri-submarine deal, The Australian newspaper reported.

“Everything has been timed and fully understood,” an unnamed source in Canberra told the newspaper.

Weighs Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister who signed the French submarine contract and considers Macron a personal friend, has accused News Corp’s newspapers, including The Australian, of siding with Morrison’s conservative government.

Turnbull told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Turnbull added: “Scott Morrison should apologize… for having so elaborately and doubly deceived France.”

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