Australian PM to meet Macron to 'reset' relations
Canberra, June 24 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday confirmed he will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in a bid to "reset" relations.
Albanese said that he has accepted Macron's invitation to visit France, reports Xinhua news agency.
It comes weeks after Albanese announced his new government had agreed to pay French shipbuilder Naval Group around A$830 million ($573 million ) in compensation for a cancelled submarine contract.
The relationship between Australia and France deteriorated when former Prime Minister Scott Morrison scrapped the deal.
Australia instead signed a new defence pact with the US and the UK called Aukus, infuriating Macron who accused Morrison of lying to him, briefly recalling France's Ambassador in protest.
Albanese, who defeated Morrison in the May 21 general election, said he expected a welcome in France.
"I've been invited by President Macron to meet with him in France and I'll be doing that in a week's time. We do need to reset, we've already had very constructive discussions," he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV.
"What we can offer is a relationship between our respective leaders that won't be leaked, in order to make an opportunistic headline in the newspaper. One of respect and honesty in the way that we deal with each other.
"We've already had very constructive discussions... Next week's visit is a very concrete sign of the repair that's been done already," the Prime Minister was quoted as saying.
Earlier this month, Australia announced a $584 million settlement with France's Naval Group as compensation for scrapping the contract in favour of the Aukus deal.