Australian Prime Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference. File photo
Australian Prime Scott Morrison attacked the credibility of French President Emmanuel Macron as a newspaper quoted a text message that suggested France anticipated "bad news” about a now-scuttled submarine deal.
An Australia newspaper cast doubts on President Joe Biden’s explanation to Macron last week that the US leader thought the French had been informed long before the September announcement that their 90-billion Australian dollar ($66 billion) submarine deal with Australia would be scrapped.
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Meanwhile, Australian media on Tuesday published messages between French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, as Canberra seeks to push back against allegations it lied to Paris about a multibillion-dollar submarine contract.
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a meeting. File photo
Australia in September cancelled a deal with France's Naval Group, opting instead to build at least 12 nuclear-powered submarines after striking a deal with the United States and Britain.
The cancellation caused a major bilateral rift, and Macron on Sunday said Morrison had lied to him about Australia's intentions, an unprecedented allegation among allies. Morrison has denied the claim.
Macron this week accused Morrison of lying to him at a Paris dinner in June about the fate of a 5-year-old contract with majority French state-owned Naval Group to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines. Australia canceled that deal when it formed an alliance with US and Britain to acquire a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines built with US technology.
Morrison told Australian reporters who had accompanied him to Glasgow, Scotland, for a UN climate conference that he made clear to Macron at their dinner in June that conventional submarines would not meet Australia’s evolving strategic needs.
The source declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
France has said Australia did not attempt to inform it of the cancellation until the day Canberra announced its deal with the United States and Britain.
Australia last week scrapped a deal with France's Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and will instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with US and British technology after striking a trilateral security partnership with those two countries.
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