By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison denied that he had lied to France’s President Emmanuel Macron whereas secretly negotiating a submarine take care of the United States and Britain, an accusation that has escalated a rift over Australia’s shock cancelation of a French deal.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce steered France was overreacting, saying, “we didn’t deface the Eiffel Tower.”
Australia in September dropped the 5-year-old, 90 million Australian greenback ($66 million) contract with majority French state-owned Naval Group to construct 12 standard diesel-electric submarines. Instead, Australia made an alliance with Britain and the U.S. to purchase a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines constructed with U.S. know-how.
Macron instructed Australian reporters late Sunday in Rome, the place each leaders attended the Group of 20 nations summit, the new alliance was “very unhealthy news for the credibility of Australia and really unhealthy news for the belief that nice companions can have with Australia.”
Political Cartoons on World Leaders
Answering a reporter’s query about whether or not he thinks Morrison lied to him, Macron replied, “I don’t suppose, I do know” he lied.
Morrison, who was additionally in Rome, mentioned he didn’t lie to Macron, whereas senior Australian authorities ministers criticized the French chief for escalating the dispute by the private slight.
“We didn’t steal an island, we didn’t deface the Eiffel Tower, it was a contract,” Joyce mentioned within the Australian capital on Monday.
“Contracts have phrases and situations, and a type of phrases and situations and propositions is that you just may get out of the contract. We received out of that contract,” Joyce added.
Joyce’s workplace couldn’t say whether or not “steal an island” was a reference to the English Channel’s tiny Sark Island, which unemployed French nuclear physicist André Gardes tried to overthrow with an assault rifle in 1990.
The weird occasion impressed the 2013 movie, “The Man Who Tried to Steal an Island.”
Cabinet Minister David Littleproud described Macron’s criticism of Morrison as “unreasonable.”
Morrison couldn’t reveal that the United States had supplied Australia nuclear-propulsion know-how when the pair dined collectively in June for nationwide safety causes, Littleproud mentioned.
“I used to be very clear that the traditional submarines weren’t going to have the ability to meet our strategic ,” Morrison mentioned.
Macron had refused to take Morrison’s phone calls after the submarine furor broke till hours earlier than the Australian chief was to fly to Rome final week. The pair didn’t maintain a bilateral meeting in Rome, however Morrison mentioned that they had “spoken a number of instances” and would possible accomplish that extra within the coming days. Both leaders will attend the U.N. local weather summit in Glasgow, Scotland, this week.
President Joe Biden instructed Macron final week that the U.S. had been “clumsy” in its dealing with of the Australian submarine alliance. Biden mentioned he thought Marcon had been knowledgeable lengthy earlier than the deal was introduced.
Asked by a reporter if Australia might have “dealt with it higher,” Joyce replied: “With hindsight.” He then drew an analogy to the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s best-known horse race, which might be run on Tuesday.
“If solely I might put a wager on final 12 months’s one, geez, I’d make some cash,” Joyce mentioned.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.