Emmanuel Macron, the French president, accused Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison of damaging mutual respect by lying about Canberra’s plan to reject a pact with Paris in favour of the AUKUS nuclear submarine arrangement with the United States and the United Kingdom.
“We will see what he will deliver,” Macron said at the G20 Summit in Rome when pressed about whether he could ever trust Morrison again. “Do you think he lied to you?” a reporter asked directly.
“I don’t think, I know,” said the French President.
Macron did not go into the details of the alleged lie, telling the Australian journalist instead that he has “a lot of respect for your country” and its people. “I just say when we have respect… you have to behave… in line and consistently with this value,” he added.
Morrison denied lying, insisting at a separate press meeting that he had openly told Macron that conventional submarines offered by France do not meet Australia’s needs.
“I was very clear that the conventional submarines were not going to be able to meet our strategic interests and we were going to have to make a decision in our national interest,” Morrison said.