There will be no meeting with the French president in New York: Australia’s Prime Minister

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Even though French anger over the cancellation of a US$40 billion (S$54 billion) defense contract could jeopardize an Australian-EU trade deal, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday (September 21) that he will not speak with French President Emmanuel Macron at the United Nations this week.
Following a trilateral security alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom, Australia canceled a deal with France’s Naval Group to develop a fleet of conventional submarines. It would instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with US and British technology.
France was enraged by the deal’s termination, accusing Australia and the United States of betraying it and recalling its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington. While US President Joe Biden has attempted to talk with French President Emmanuel Macron to defuse tensions, Morrison has stated that he would not conduct a separate bilateral meeting with Macron.
“At this time, there isn’t a way to do that. I’m confident the opportunity will present itself in due time. “When asked if he would talk with Macron on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, Morrison assured reporters in New York that he would.
On Monday, European Union members voiced support with France, putting Australia’s ambition for a free trade agreement with the union in jeopardy.
On October 12, Australia and the EU will convene the next round of trade negotiations. Despite the French disappointment, Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan indicated that he expects the negotiations to continue forward as planned.
Morrison, on the other hand, attempted to downplay hopes that an agreement would be reached. “I think everyone realizes that getting a trade deal with the European Union is not an easy thing to achieve,” he added.

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