Foreign Minister Marise Payne breaks silence on Australia’s diplomatic row with France
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has defended Australia’s sovereignty after a volley of tense comments between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Mr Macron earlier this week said “I don’t think, I know” the Australian Prime Minister lied to him about the cancellation of a major submarine deal.
Mr Morrison fired back, accusing Mr Macron of “sledging Australia” and expressing a desire to “move on”.
In a National Press Club speech today, France’s ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault described Australia’s conduct as ‘intentionally deceitful’ and “plainly a stab in the back”.
The Foreign Minister told Jim Wilson she had a “constructive meeting” with the French Ambassador in person on Monday.
“I think it is important to acknowledge this was an important and difficult decision for Australia to make, but one … we had to make in our national interests.
“I certainly understand that it has been deeply disappointing for France.”
Jim Wilson asked whether Mr Thebault had used similarly “strong language” in his meeting with Ms Payne.
“I don’t go into my conversations with diplomatic representatives”, she said, but “as the Prime Minister has said, it is not true” that Australia lied to or deceived France.
Press PLAY below to hear Marise Payne’s response in full
Image: Nine News, Chesnot/Getty Images