Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied that he lied to French President Emmanuel Macron while secretly negotiating a submarine deal with the United States and Britain.
Morrison said in a press statement today, Monday, that he “did not lie to Macron,” while senior ministers in the Australian government criticized the French president for escalating the dispute through a personal insult.
For his part, Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, indicated that France is overreacting, saying, “We did not destroy the Eiffel Tower!”
“We didn’t steal an island, we didn’t damage the Eiffel Tower, it was a contract,” Joyce said in Morey, New South Wales, on Monday, referring to his country’s dissolution of the French submarine contract.
He added: “Contracts have terms and conditions, and one of those terms and conditions and suggestions is that you may give up the contract. We have given up on this contract.”
This comes after French President Macron told Australian reporters on Sunday evening in Rome, where he and Morrison attended the G20 summit, in which he said that “the new alliance (between Australia, America and Britain) was very bad news for Australia’s credibility, and very bad news for the confidence that it has.” It can be enjoyed by great partners with Australia.”
Asked by a reporter if he thought Morrison had lied to him, Macron replied: “I don’t think, I know, he lied.”
Australia in September canceled a contract signed five years ago worth 90 million Australian dollars ($66 million) with the mostly French state-owned Naval Group to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.about:blank
Instead, Australia formed an alliance with Britain and the United States to acquire a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines made using American technology.
Source: Associated Press