In the aftermath of September’s submarine row, when Australia abruptly scrapped a deal with France in favor of the US and Britain helping it with nuclear-powered subs, Australia is hitting back at French allegations that it lied about the deal.
Scott Morrison, the Australian premier, on Monday rejected French President Emmanuel Macron’s accusations that he had lied to France on the cancellation of the multibillion-euro sub contract.
"I've got broad shoulders, I can deal with that (the accusations),” he said in Glasgow, Scotland, where he is attending a UN climate change summit.
“But those slurs – I'm not going to cop sledging of Australia. I'm not going to cop that on behalf of Australians,” he told reporters.
He added that he will not allow his country to be "humiliated."
Saying that Australia is working to mend fences with France, Morrison said that he spoken to Macron a few times over the past few days.
At the weekend G20 leaders summit in Rome, when asked whether Morrison had lied about the submarine deal, Macron replied: "I don't think, I know."
But Morrison said that as early as June he brought up the issue clearly during a dinner at Paris’ Elysee Palace.
France reacted angrily to the AUKUS deal inked by Australia, the UK, and the US in September to defend the Indo Pacific zone from China’s influence.
After the AUKUS alliance was announced on Sept. 15, Australia canceled a multibillion-euro deal for French submarines as it will now get technology from the US and UK to build nuclear-powered subs.
The axing of the deal outraged Paris, which recalled its envoys from Washington and Canberra.