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French strategy keeps Australia in freeze

scott morrison emmanuel macron
France has downgraded its diplomatic relations with Australia in a new Indo-Pacific strategy. Photo: Getty
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France has downgraded its diplomatic relations with Australia in a new Indo-Pacific strategy.

French President Emmanuel Macron reacted with fury last year when Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed plans to scrap a $90 billion deal to buy submarines.

Mr Morrison instead signed a partnership with the United States and Britain, known as AUKUS, under which Australia will buy nuclear-powered submarines.

A document issued by Mr Macron and his foreign affairs minister, France’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, takes a cool approach to Australia.

“Australia’s decision in September 2021, without prior consultation or warning, to break off the partnership of trust with France that included the Future Submarine Program (FSP), has led to a re‑evaluation of the past strategic partnership the two countries,” the 67-page document reads.

“France will pursue bilateral cooperation with Australia on a case‑by‑case basis, according to its national interests and those of regional partners.

“France intends to maintain close relations with the United States, an ally and major player in the Indo‑Pacific, and to strengthen coordination, including on issues raised by the announcement of the AUKUS agreement.”

Mr Morrison has twice mentioned France in a positive light this week in talking about diplomatic efforts in relation to Ukraine and cooperation over Antarctica.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne is in France for a 58-country diplomatic and security summit.

– AAP