Australian PM hails new start of relations with France
Australia's Prime Minister welcomes a fresh start in his country's relations with France following the AUKUS row last year.
Following the AUKUS row that took place last year, in which Australia broke off a submarine contract with France in favor of establishing a defense pact with the US and UK, it seems that ties between Paris and Canberra are off to a new beginning.
Australian PM Anthony Albanese welcomed on Friday a "new start" in relations with France after Albanese met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
"My presence here represents a new start for our countries' relationship," Albanese said after arriving at the Elysees Palace.
"Australia's relationship with France matters. Trust, respect and honesty matter. This is how I will approach my relations," he added.
The French president, for his part, said that the first talks between him and Albanese since the latter won the elections in May "mark a willingness to rebuild a relationship of trust between our two countries, a relationship based on mutual respect".
Macron further noted the two countries' strategic partnership, shared war history in Europe, and their joint interests in "stability in the Pacific region", alluding to China.
The Australian government agreed in June to pay Aus$830 million ($579 million) to the French Naval Group in restitution for the former Morrison administration's controversial decision to cancel the French attack class submarine project.
The AUKUS alliance was formed on September 15 last year, as the US, the UK, and Australia announced that the latter will purchase nuclear-powered submarines from the US and receive the know-how from both the US and the UK on AI, cyber, and quantum technologies, in addition to underwater and long-range missile capabilities.