French president claims Scott Morrison did not behave in line with the truth.
French President Emmanuel Macron accused his Australian counterpart Sunday of lying to France regarding the cancellation of a multi-million euro submarine contract that was subsequently passed on to the US.
“I don’t think so, I know,” Macron said in response to a question on whether he thought Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lied to him. Probed further on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome by Australian news outlet The Sunday Morning Herald on whether he could trust Morrison again, the president said France will wait to see what he delivers.
“I have a lot of respect for your country and friendship for your people. When there is respect, you have to be true and behave in line and consistent with this value,” he added.
French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian made similar comments in September after Australia cancelled the contract with France for 12 conventionally-powered submarines in favor of the US under Canberra’s new defense alliance with Washington and London called AUKUS.
Le Drian accused the Western allies of “stabbing in the back,” “lying, duplicity and a major breach of trust and contempt."
Australia rejected these accusations, saying Morrison had raised concerns over the capability of French submarines “some months ago.”
The French head of state’s harsh comments came days after he shook hands with Morrison at the G20 summit and spoke to him in a phone call on October 28 the first time since the submarine crisis broke out. Macron in the phone call told Morrison that the decision on the submarine contract broke the trust between the two countries and it was up to Canberra to repair the bilateral relationship.
Morrison acknowledged that he was conscious of disappointing France and would work to build back the bridges.
The axing of the deal had outraged Paris, which recalled its envoys from Washington and Canberra. US President Joe Biden in his meeting with Macron this week admitted that Washington was “clumsy” in handling the deal.