On Wednesday (11/3/2021), the French ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thibault, expressed his dissatisfaction with the leakage of private messages sent by French President Emmanuel Macron to his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, referring to the cancellation of the memorandum of understanding. French submarine contract.
“You can’t act like this in a personal exchange between leaders. Doing that also sends a very worrying signal to all heads of state (of the world),” Thibault said during an appearance at the Canberra Press Club.
The diplomat warned that a “sad” signal was being sent to the world: “Be careful in Australia, there are leaks and what you say to your fellow trustees will end up against you.”
Thibault was referring to a leak of the content of a series of messages on Monday night between the Australian and French presidents in the days before Canberra’s controversial cancellation in September of a deal to buy 12 French conventional submarines.
Two days before announcing the cancellation of the contract, which France describes as a “stab in the back”, Morrison’s office attempted to contact Macron, but the French president asked in a text message: “Do I expect good or bad news regarding our joint submarine ambitions?”
The most interesting thing about the letter’s content, Thibault noted, is that it “makes it very clear that until the last minute we didn’t know what was going to happen” and insisted there was a “deliberate” deception on the part of the Australian government.
Diplomatic relations between France and Australia are going through a bad time after the submarine contract concluded in 2016 and worth about $67,617 million (58,473 million euros) was cancelled.
Canberra scrapped the French submarine project in September in favor of developing nuclear devices as part of an ambitious defense pact with the United States and the United Kingdom.
Today, the French diplomat said it was now up to the Australian government to take steps “to rebuild something substantial, but we started from a distance, unfortunately”.
Australia signed a defense alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom in September with the goal of standing up to China in the Indo-Pacific region, and through which the ocean-side country would gain access to American-made nuclear submarines.
France, which has territories in the Indo-Pacific, called this agreement a betrayal of trust and invited its ambassadors in Washington and Canberra to consult, but they returned weeks later to their diplomatic posts.
Macron met last Friday with US President Joe Biden, who said he had “the impression” that France had been informed of the agreement, acknowledging that the handling of the matter was “clumsy”.
mg (efe, The Guardian)
Twitter fan. Beer specialist. Entrepreneur. General pop culture nerd. Music trailblazer. Problem solver. Bacon evangelist. Foodaholic.