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Australian PM visiting France to improve relations over AUKUS deal

Anthony Albanese to travel to Paris after NATO Summit in Madrid on June 29, 30

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will meet French President Emmanuel Macron next week in Paris in an effort to repair strained relations.

Diplomatic relations between France and Australia turned sour last September when Australia, under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison, signed the AUKUS deal with the US and UK to get nuclear-powered submarines.

Australia canceled its €56 billion ($59 billion) Future Submarine Program (FSP) with France’s Naval Group to buy 12 submarines.

Read more: AUKUS pact and its implications for South Asia

The decision irked Macron and his government, which expressed dismay over the deal.

The three-country pact was forged to ensure Australia’s security in the region – a growing area of concern with the continued economic and military expansion of China.

On June 11, Albanese announced Australia will pay the French Naval Group €555 million in compensation for scrapping the deal.

At Macron’s invitation, Albanese will travel to Paris after the NATO Summit in Madrid on June 29 and 30.

In a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday, Albanese said: “I am also honoured to accept an invitation from President Macron to visit Paris. France is an important partner and friend to Australia, particularly in our shared vision for peace and stability in the Pacific.”

Read more: The future of France and US relationship in the post AUKUS era

The Australian prime minister added: “The NATO Leaders’ Summit comes at a critical time. The conflict in Ukraine has significant consequences that reach far beyond Europe. Australia’s attendance also allows for engagement on strategic priorities for NATO engagement in our region.”

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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