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Rabu, 22 September 2021

Prime Minister Scott Morrison waits for call with French President as ambassadors return to US - ABC News

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is not expecting Australia's relationship with France to improve any time soon, revealing he has tried to contact President Emmanuel Macron without success.

France is still furious about Australia's decision to dump a $90 billion contract for French-designed submarines in favour of acquiring nuclear-powered boats under a new military partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom

Overnight, US President Joe Biden and Mr Macron smoothed tensions in a phone call, with the French President deciding to return his ambassador to Washington.

However, Mr Morrison said Australia's relationship with France would take longer to recover.

"Australia decided not to proceed with a very significant defence contract and, understandably, we know that France is disappointed about that," he said during a visit to Washington.

"I think those issues will take further time to work through than the ones being dealt with between the United States and France."

US President Joe Biden listens as France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks
Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone overnight.(

AP: Brendan Smialowski

)

Asked whether he had tried to call Mr Macron to discuss the matter, Mr Morrison replied, "yes we have".

"The opportunity for that call is not yet," he said.

"But we'll be patient, we understand their disappointment.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed French anger over the deal, arguing French officials should "get a grip".

PM seeks support for subs deal in the US

Mr Morrison spent the day meeting senior defence officials and political leaders in Washington, declaring he had received "overwhelming" support for Australia's submarines plan.

"Today it was very clear that Congress and the Senate will be backing this in," he said.

"Now there's a lot more work to do but that work will be done in a spirit of cooperation and a spirit of endorsement."

At home, the opposition has offered conditional bipartisan support for the deal, but Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong warned the government must not sacrifice Australia's independence in the process.

Senator Wong also said the deal had unnerved some of Australia's neighbours.

The Prime Minister rejected her comments. 

"I think Australians would be puzzled as to why there can be bipartisan support for this initiative in the United States and within days, the Labor Party seems to be having an each way bet," Mr Morrison said.

"I don't have each way bets on national security."

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2021-09-23 00:11:31Z
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