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Australia to review relations with France

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RELAXING TRIP This file photo taken and released by the Presidential Palace on June 6, 2022 shows Indonesian President Joko Widodo (right) and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese riding bamboo bikes at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, western of Java. Albanese said relations with France needed to be reset after a bad row over a canceled multibillion-dollar submarine contract. AFP PHOTO

SYDNEY: Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said relations with France need to be “reset” after a nasty row over a canceled multibillion-dollar submarine contract.

“It’s important that this reset happens,” Albanese told national broadcaster ABC in an interview Thursday night.

“France, of course, is at the center of power in Europe but it is also a key power in the Pacific.”

The Australian leader said he will meet French President Emmanuel Macron next week in Paris, their first meeting since Australia’s May election saw the centre-left Albanese Labor Party swept to power.

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Ties between the two nations frayed last year when Australia canceled a submarine contract with France to join the Aukus partnership with the United States and Britain.

French officials said they only heard of Aukus through the media and growing anger led Macron to brand Albanese predecessor Scott Morrison a liar.

Albanese told the ABC that to make amends for the scrapped outsourcing deal, Australia could offer “a relationship between our respective leaders which will not be disclosed in order to make an opportunistic headline in the newspaper”.

The comments were seen as a swipe at the former Australian government over text messages between Prime Minister Morrison and Macron that were leaked to the local press allegedly to prove the French knew Aukus.

Australia recently reached a 555 million euro ($584 million) compensation deal with France’s Naval Group for the canceled submarines, bringing the total cost of the canceled program to $2.3 billion. .


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