Australia must 'redefine' relations after submarine spat 'broke' trust, Macron says

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French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison by telephone on Thursday for the first time since the diplomatic crisis over a scrapped submarine deal last month, the Élysée Palace said.

Macron reiterated that Canberra’s decision to cancel a deal for conventional-powered French subs in favour of US nuclear vessels “had broken the relation of trust between our two countries,” his office said in a statement.

“It is now up to the Australian government to propose concrete actions that could embody the will of Australian authorities to redefine the bases of our relationship and pursue joint action in the Indo-Pacific region,” it said.

Paris was furious after Australia ditched the deal last month, saying it had been given no warning that Australia was instead negotiating a new defence pact with the US and Britain.

Australia had signed a contract in 2016 to buy the French subs, a deal worth Aus$50 billion (31 billion euros, $36.5 billion) when signed.

France recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the US in protest, with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian denouncing “a stab in the back”. 

Paris is also insisting on financial compensation.

“Close attention will now be paid regarding the situation for the French companies and their sub-contractors, including Australian firms, impacted by this decision,” the Élysée statement said.



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