US President Joe Biden admitted the AUKUS pact orchestration was “awkward” as he met the French president for the first time since the secret submarine deal.
Mr Biden also told Emmanuel Macron he “felt France had been informed long before” of Australia’s plan to end its $ 90 billion submarine contract with France .
The two leaders are in Rome for the G20 summit, which is also attended by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who intervenes as Scotland prepares to host the COP26 climate talks.
Mr Biden did not formally apologize to Mr Macron, but acknowledged that the United States should not have taken the country by surprise.
“I think what happened, to use an English expression, what we did was awkward,” Biden said, adding that the submarine deal “was not made with a lot of grace “.
Mr Biden and Mr Macron greeted each other with handshakes and shoulder shakes in their first face-to-face meeting since France reacted badly to the AUKUS announcement in September.
It follows that Mr Macron spoke to Scott Morrison for the first time on Thursday and told the Prime Minister that Australia “has severed the relationship of trust” and that it is up to Mr Morrison to mend the relationship.
Mr Morrison, who landed in Rome for the summit, told reporters the fractured relationship with France was turning in the right direction and he appreciated that Mr Macron had extended his hand.
“So we started the way back, I think that’s a positive thing. Of course there will be some frank conversations at the start as we deal with the issues as presented, ”he said.
“The way you rebuild these relationships is to work together on the things that matter to both of us,” Mr. Morrison said, referring to common interests in the Indo-Pacific and policies on oceans and technology.
“Antarctica is another key region and Australia is a very reputable operator there. I know that France also has its interests there, ”he declared.
Mr Macron had also raised the issue of Australia’s climate targets during the icebreaker phone call with Mr Morrison as the prime minister faces diplomatic and militant pressure to take more ambitious action.
Australia has committed to net zero emissions by 2050, but is not raising its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% from 2005 levels by 2030.
G20 leaders, including Mr. Morrison, are expected to endorse a global transition to carbon neutrality by 2050.
Prime Minister set to be greeted with full-page ad in Italian business daily Il Sole 24 Ore with a picture of him in parliament with a piece of coal.
The ad, in English and Italian, carries the slogan: ‘Don’t let Australia cheat on climate change’.
“Australia is not moving away from fossil fuels – it is increasing its dependence on them,” said the Australia Institute announcement.
Mr Morrison told reporters it was important to develop global technology solutions that could work around the world.
“This is why the Australian way of achieving net zero emissions, I think, is a way that all countries can adopt, because it is about getting technological solutions at scale and at affordable costs, because it ‘is what history tells us that always makes the change. “
The Prime Minister will speak to the G20 in a session on the dangers of social media for children and ask other leaders to follow Australia in holding social media platforms to account.
Mr Morrison will also meet with Indonesian leader Joko Widodo, whose government fears the nuclear submarine deal may raise tensions in the region and undermine the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
The G20 countries represent more than 80% of the world’s gross domestic product and three quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions.
But leaders differ in their approaches to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, using coal and gas for electricity, and how to tackle methane emissions.