Scott Morrison has made a disappointing admission about French President Emmanuel Macron during his trip to Washington.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted Emmanuel Macron won’t answer any phone calls after the French President was left outraged over the surprise AUKUS deal.
While US President Joe Biden spoke with Mr. Macron on Wednesday, admitting to the French leader “there could have been greater consultation (over AUKUS),” M.r Morrison said he could not secure a similar phone call.
“Have you tried to speak to him now? And is he just not taking your call?” a reporter in Washington asked the PM on Thursday.
“Yes, we have,” M.r Morrison replied. “The opportunity for that call is not yet. But we’ll be patient.” Mr Macron has since agreed to reinstate the French Ambassador to the US. But the absence of a phone call for Mr. Morrison means Canberra’s French Embassy remains empty.
Mr. Morrison acknowledged France’s disappointment over recent events but made no apologies for his decision to scrap Australia’s deal with France and replace it with AUKUS.
“It was a very difficult decision. And, of course, we had to weigh up what would be the obvious disappointment to France,” the PM said.
“But at the end of the day, as a government, we have to do what is right for Australia and serve Australia’s national security interests. “I will always choose Australia’s national security interests first.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson served some less subtle words to the French President over the ordeal. “I just think it’s time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip about this and donnez-Moi unbreak,” M.r Johnson told reporters on Wednesday, effectively telling France to “get a grip” and “give me a break”.
Mr Morrison urged France to reconsider its refusal to engage in talks with Australia.
“We value our relationship with France. We have still around $6 billion worth of defense contracts with French companies,” the PM said. “Our door is wide open. Our invitation is there.”
“We understand the hurt and the disappointment, and we’ll be patient as we look forward to working with old friends again.” Published initially as France not accepting a phone call from Australia after sub deal, Scott Morrison tells Washington.