Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hailed a “fresh start” in relations with France when he met President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday, after an acrimonious row between the countries over a submarine contract l ‘last year.
“My presence here represents a new start for relations between our countries,” Albanese said after arriving at the Elysee Palace. “Australia’s relationship with France matters. Trust, respect and honesty matter. That’s how I will approach my relationship.”
Macron said Albanese’s recent election and the first conversations between the two men “mark a desire to rebuild a relationship of trust between our two countries, a relationship based on mutual respect”.
After acknowledging “difficult times”, Macron underlined the two countries’ strategic partnership, their shared war history in Europe and their common interests for stability in the Pacific region.
These statements, which followed a warm welcome between the two men and their wives in the courtyard of the presidential palace, mark a radical change in relations since the departure of former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
A rainy arrival for the PM in Paris. Anthony Albanese is hoping for a warmer welcome when he meets Emmanuel Macron tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/itI01664C9
— Brett McLeod (@Brett_McLeod) June 30, 2022
Macron became furious last year after Morrison secretly negotiated the purchase of American-designed submarines and then scrapped a historic submarine contract with France worth 50 billion Australian dollars (33 billion euros) when it was signed in 2016.
France has severed diplomatic contact with Australia and Macron has repeatedly accused Morrison of lying to him at a dinner they had in Paris in June 2021.
Outgoing French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian applauded Morrison’s May election defeat to Albanese, saying it “suits me well”.
Morrison’s actions were marked by “brutality and cynicism, and I would even be tempted to say unequivocally incompetent,” Le Drian said as he handed over to his successor Catherine Colonna on May 21.
Albanese announced earlier this month that French submarine builder Naval Group had agreed to a ‘fair and equitable settlement’ of 555 million euros ($584 million) for Australia ending the submarine contract. ten-year-old sailor.
“It’s important that this reset happens,” Albanese told national broadcaster ABC in a June 24 interview.