Australian Prime Minister to France to Restore Ties
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed to Australian media that he will travel to France next week to meet President Emmanuel Macron. Albanian says he wants to formally “restore” diplomatic ties after last year’s submarine riot.
France reacted furiously at the time when Australia cancelled the order for a number of French submarines.
That agreement would involve tens of billions of euros. The previous Australian government announced in September that it would sign the new AUKUS security pact with the United Kingdom and the United States to counter China’s influence in the Pacific region. Without consultation with Paris, the deal with France was scrapped, to purchase American submarines. Macron was offended and in anger temporarily called the ambassadors from Australia and the United States back to Paris.
The riot started under the previous Australian government, so Albania says it’s time to start over. He says he was personally invited by Macron and expects a warm welcome. According to the prime minister, the two countries should deal with each other in a “respectful and fair manner”. Earlier this month, his government announced it would pay the French shipbuilder €555 million in compensation for the cancelled order.
Albanian is in Europe for next week’s expanded NATO summit. He is also said to have been invited by Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky to visit Kyiv, but it is not yet clear whether he will do so.