French-Australian relations have reached an “unprecedented new low” with the leak of a text message from French President Macron to Australian Prime Minister Morrison.
This was stated by the French Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thibault, in a speech to the National Press Club of the Australian Journalists Organization. According to him, it is unclear how things should proceed between countries in areas such as mutual trust.
Australia and France were at odds for a month and a half after Australia decided to cancel a €40 billion contract for French submarines in favor of a deal with the United States on nuclear submarines.
Text from Macron
Yesterday, a text message from Macron appeared in the Australian media, which the French president sent to Morrison in September after he suggested a submarine consultation. This proposal came shortly before the deal with America was announced.
“Can I count on good or bad news when it comes to our shared submarine ambitions?” Macron is said to have sent. It is not known what Morrison replied, but the prime minister is said to have used Macron’s letter as evidence that France was not sure about the deal.
According to France, canceling the order came out of nowhere. Macron has previously accused the Australian prime minister of lying, including over dinner in Paris over the summer. Morrison denied lying. According to him, it has always been clear that the French diesel submarines may not have been advanced enough for Australia.
‘Deception was intentional’
French Ambassador Thibault deplores the leakage of the message. According to him, this is a warning to all government leaders who do business with Australia. “Because there will be leaks and what you say secretly to partners will eventually be used against you.”
He also holds to the position that Australia lied to France. “The deception was deliberate,” he said. “And perhaps there is a difference between deception and lying. But if you deceive a friend of the prime minister, you lie to him.”
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