Emmanuel Macron speaks to Anthony Albanese agrees to rebuild relationship with Australia

London: French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to start rebuilding a relationship with Australia based on “trust and respect” in his first phone call with new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday evening.

Macron, who wrote privately to congratulate Albanese following his election victory on Saturday evening, reminded his new counterpart of the “deep breach of trust” which had occurred in an ugly chapter in Franco-Australian relations last year following the cancellation of a $90 billion submarine contract.

Emmanuel Macron.Credit:Bloomberg

In a conversation that lasted more than 20 minutes, the pair agreed the two nations needed to repair the bond to jointly overcome global challenges, including the climate “emergency” and strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

A new road map to structure a new bilateral agenda would be created, the pair agreed, with the aim of strengthening resilience in the region and contributing to peace and security amid a more assertive China.

Albanese said the conversation was “warm and constructive” in a social media post on Thursday evening, with the pair discussing a free and open Indo-Pacific, greater co-operation on climate and energy policy and support for Ukraine.

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Macron’s comments showed that nerves are still raw between the two administrations following the controversial termination of the defence contract in favour of a new three-way security pact, which included access to nuclear submarines, between the United States and Britain.

France was outraged that it was only informed of the alliance hours before the public announcement was made, and later expressed fury at Morrison’s decision to leak a private text message from Macron after the contract was axed.

The French president’s words follow those of France’s outgoing foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who took a swipe at Albanese’s predecessor, Scott Morrison, just hours after he conceded defeat at the weekend, saying the former prime minister had handled the matter with “such brutality and cynicism” and “unequivocal incompetence”.

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