Macron and Morrison were in Rome for the G20 summit, the first time they had met since Australia scrapped a multi-billion-dollar submarine deal with France as part of a new security alliance with the United States and Britain announced in September.
The new security alliance, dubbed AUKUS, which could give Australia access to nuclear-powered submarines, took Paris by surprise and saw the French ambassadors recalled from Washington and Canberra amid accusations that France had been betrayed.
“I have a lot of respect for your country. I have a lot of respect and a lot of friendship for your people. I’m just saying when we have respect, you have to be true and you have to behave accordingly.” Value, “Macron told a group of Australian journalists who had traveled to cover the G20.
Asked if he thought Morrison had lied to him, Macron replied “I do not think I know.”
Speaking later at a media conference on Sunday in Rome, Morrison said he had not lied and that he had previously explained to Macron that conventional submarines would no longer meet Australia’s needs. He said the process of repairing the relationship had begun.
On Friday, US President Joe Biden said he had thought France had been informed of the contract termination before the AUKUS pact was announced, saying the handling of the new security deal had been clumsy.