â€œAustralia values â€‹â€‹its relationship with France, which is an important partner and an essential contributor to stability, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. It won’t change.
â€œWe look forward to re-engaging with France on our many issues of common interest, based on shared values. “
Shortly before the French announced the recall, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne told a hearing at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC that she â€œabsolutelyâ€ understood the French disappointment.
“My job is to work as hard as possible … to make sure they understand the value we place on the role they play and understand the value we place on the bilateral relationship and the work we want to continue doing. together . “
In an interview with France 24 news channel, Macron’s Minister of European Affairs, ClÃ©ment Baune, said that the breach of trust following the cancellation of the submarine’s contract could jeopardize the negotiations of the agreement of free trade between Australia and the European Union.
“If we don’t trust any more, we can’t move forward and I don’t see how we can trust the Australian partners,” said Mr Baune.
Labor Foreign Spokeswoman Penny Wong said it was not the first time Prime Minister Scott Morrison had “blinded an international partner or failed to do diplomatic work before an announcement”.
â€œIt’s high time Mr. Morrison learned to prioritize Australia’s relationships and national interest over photo ops. France is a country which shares an interest in our region. The Morrison-Joyce government must describe the steps it is taking to repair this important relationship. “
Following the first recall by a French ambassador to Washington DC in more than two centuries, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement: â€œWe have been in close contact with our French allies. We understand their position and we are aware of their intention to call Ambassador Etienne back to Paris for consultations.
â€œFrance is a vital partner and our oldest ally, and we place the highest value on our relationship. We hope to continue our discussion on this issue at the next level in the coming days. “
The recall of Jean-Pierre Thebault, the French ambassador to Australia, and Philippe Etienne, the ambassador to the United States, for “consultations” would be the first in a series of protests from Paris, which is furious with the Australia for abandoning the contract and the United States for benefiting from the change.
Lowy Institute foreign policy expert HervÃ© Lemahieu said the decision to jettison the French ships “would take years to repair and leave a lasting legacy of mistrust” between Australia and France.