Australia PM says no opportunity for meeting with French president in New York

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hold a news conference as they meet at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 15, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday he will not speak with the French president at the United Nations this week even though French anger over cancellation of a $40 billion defence contract could threaten an Australian-EU trade deal.

Australia last week scrapped a deal with France's Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and will instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with U.S. and British technology after striking a trilateral security partnership with those two countries.

The cancellation of the deal has angered France, which accused both Australia and the United States of stabbing it in the back, and it recalled its ambassadors from both Canberra and Washington.

While U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to speak to French President Emmanuel Macron to ease tension, Morrison said he would not hold a separate bilateral meeting with the French leader.

"There is not an opportunity for that at this time. I'm sure that opportunity will come in time," Morrison told reporters in New York when asked if he would speak to Macron on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

European Union countries expressed solidarity with France on Monday in a show of unity seen as threatening Australia's bid for a free trade deal with the bloc.

Australia and the EU are set to hold the next round of talks on a trade deal on Oct 12.

Australian Minister for Trade Dan Tehan on Monday said he expected those talks to go ahead as scheduled despite the French disappointment.

Morrison will meet Biden and European leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York before travelling to Washington for a meeting of the Quad group of countries - India, Japan, the United States and Australia - later this week.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In World

India to move some migrant workers in Kashmir to army camps after killings
German Greens vote to enter government coalition talks
UN envoy says has agreement on drafting new Syrian constitution
Tunisian lawmaker detained over suspected tax fraud, money laundering
Jordan says no current plans to operate flights with Syria-state news agency
Outsider Marki-Zay jumps to early lead in Hungary opposition run-off
Yemen's Houthis advance in Shabwa and Marib
Czech opposition parties plan lower 2022 budget deficit after election win
US, Canadian warships sailed through Taiwan Strait last week
OSCE mission in eastern Ukraine suspends operations amid protests

Others Also Read