Australian Prime Minister attacks French leader’s credibility| Top stories

Australian Prime Minister attacks French leader’s credibility

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attacked the credibility of French President Emmanuel Macron as a newspaper quoted a text message suggesting France was anticipating “bad news” over a now scuttled submarine deal.

Macron this week accused Morrison of lying to him at a dinner in Paris in June about the fate of a 5-year contract with Naval Group, majority owned by the French state, for the construction of 12 diesel submarines -conventional electrics. Australia canceled that deal when it formed an alliance with the United States and Britain to acquire a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines built with American technology.

Two days before Morrison, Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the nuclear submarine deal, Morrison attempted to phone Macron to tell him the news, but the French leader replied by texting that he was not available to take a call, the Australian newspaper reported.

Macron asked: “Should I expect good news or bad news for our common submarine ambitions?” the newspaper reported on Tuesday.

A reporter asked why Morrison decided to leak the text message after Macron accused him of lying, but the prime minister did not respond directly.

“I’m not going to indulge your editorial on this, but what I’ll just say is this: we were contacted when we were trying to organize the call … and he made it clear that he feared it would be a phone call that could result in Australia’s decision not to continue with the contract, ”Morrison said.

French officials said their government was taken aback by the cancellation of a contract which French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called “a stab in the back”.

Macron said this week that the nuclear submarine deal was “very bad news for Australia’s credibility and very bad news for the trust that major partners can have with Australia.”

Morrison said Macron’s accusation of lying, which the prime minister denies, was an insult to Australia. Most Australian observers see it as a personal insult to Morrison.

“I don’t want to personalize this, there’s no element of that from my perspective,” Morrison said.

“I have to say I think the statements that have been made questioning the integrity of Australia and the insults that have been placed on Australia, not me – my shoulders are broad, I can do it face – but these insults, I’m not going to cop luge from Australia. I’m not going to do this on behalf of Australians, “said Morrison. Luge is a term used in cricket to refer to the abusive needling of opponents .

Biden told Macron that the management of the Australian submarine alliance was “awkward” and “not done with much grace.”

“I had the impression that France had been informed long before the (French) agreement would not be concluded. Honestly, I didn’t know you didn’t, ”Biden told Macron.

But a 15-page document negotiated by the White House National Security Council with Australian and British officials at present detailed how the world would be informed about the trilateral submarine deal, The Australian reported. .

“Everything was timed and perfectly understood,” an anonymous source from Canberra told the newspaper.

Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister who signed the French submarine contract and considers Macron a personal friend, accused News Corp newspapers, including The Australian, of being biased towards Morrison’s Tory government.

Morrison “may turn around and leak a text message here and leak a document there to his shorthand friends in the media, but at the end of the day the failure here has been not to be honest,” Turnbull told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“Scott Morrison should apologize… because he deceived France in a very elaborate and deceptive way,” added Turnbull.

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