Messages from Macron to Morrison leaked in the middle of a submarine deal

CANBERRA, November 2 (Reuters) – Australian media on Tuesday published announcements between French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as Canberra tries to push back against allegations that they lied to Paris about a multi-billion dollar submarine contract .

In September, Australia canceled an agreement with France’s naval group and instead chose to build at least 12 nuclear-powered submarines after concluding an agreement with the United States and Britain. Read more

The cancellation caused a major bilateral rift, and Macron said on Sunday that Morrison had lied to him about Australia’s intentions, an unprecedented claim among allies. Morrison has denied the claim. Read more

According to a source familiar with the messages, when Morrison tried to establish a call with Macron for the submarine contract on September 14, two days before the agreement with the US and UK was announced, Macron responded with a message saying “Should I expect good or bad news for our common submarine ambitions? ” The message with Morrison’s response was not leaked.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in front of the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on 15 June 2021. REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol

The source declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the case.

France has said Australia did not try to inform the country of the cancellation until the day Canberra announced its deal with the United States and Britain.

“There is no doubt that Morrison had to put his front foot forward and convince Australians and allies that he was not double-minded and lied, but there was serious concern that the project would not be completed,” Haydon said. Manning, Professor of Political Science. at Flinders University in South Australia.

This month, the EU postponed the next round of negotiations on a potential free trade agreement for the second time, amid smoldering anger over Canberra’s decision to cancel the contract with France.

Reporting by Colin Packham. Editing Gerry Doyle

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