French, Australian leaders seek to mend fences after submarine row

Emmanuel Macron, new Australian premier Anthony Albanese agree to smooth over 'deep breach of trust' after Canberra called off French sub purchase

Shweta Desai   | 26.05.2022
French, Australian leaders seek to mend fences after submarine row


Australia's newly elected premier pledged to rebuild the country's bilateral relationship with France on "trust and respect," after ties between the two countries declined to a nadir under his predecessor, according to a statement from the Elysee palace in Paris on Thursday.

In a phone call, French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Anthony Albanese on winning the country's general elections and taking over from Scott Morrison. The two leaders agreed to renew floundering ties hit by Canberra's abrupt cancelation of a multibillion-euro submarine contract under Morrison's administration.

After noting the "deep breach of trust" that followed Morrison's decision to terminate the submarine program, Macron and Albanese "agreed to rebuild a bilateral relationship based on trust and respect," the Elysee statement said.

France has been vocal about its outrage since the deal was called off last September when Australia scrapped a deal with France in favor of the US and Britain helping it with nuclear-powered submarines.

Paris reacted angrily to the AUKUS deal inked by Australia, the UK, and the US to defend the Indo-Pacific zone from China's influence.

In response, Paris recalled its envoys from Washington and Canberra.

According to the latest statement, France and Australia agreed to jointly work on global challenges including climate change and strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific. To pursue the new bilateral agenda, the two countries will prepare a roadmap based on "strategic cooperation," it added.

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