'Broke the trust': Telling detail in Morrison's call with French PM

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Scott Morrison has spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since Australia decided to renege on a $90 billion submarine contract with the European power.

Depending on who you ask, the call was a somewhat tense affair.

Mr Macron said Australia "broke the relationship of trust" between the two nations and it was up to Mr Morrison to repair the relationship.

"It is now up to the Australian government to propose tangible actions that embody the political will of Australia's highest authorities to redefine the basis of our bilateral relationship," he told Mr Morrison, according to a statement released by the French government. 

A description of the call released by Mr Morrison's office was far less revealing. 

French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken to Mr Morrison for the first time since the major diplomatic fallout. Source: Getty
French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken to Mr Morrison for the first time since the major diplomatic fallout. Source: Getty

"The prime minister was pleased to be able to speak with President Macron," a government read-out of the call said.

"They had a candid discussion on the bilateral relationship," it said. 

It also sought to hold up the Australian government's reluctant commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, saying the PM "took the opportunity to inform the president about Australia's commitment."

But in a telling sign ahead of the global climate summit next week, Mr Macron was less than wowed by the government's plan, which was widely criticised in international media this week

The French president said he urged Mr Morrison to "adopt ambitious measures commensurate with the climate challenge". 

He urged the PM to increase Australia's commitment to cease coal production and consumption and "ratchet up" its contribution to reduce global emissions.

It comes as the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Climate Change, Selwin Hart, took a not so subtle swipe at Australia overnight, saying countries simply relying on future technologies to achieve reductions in greenhouse gases were "reckless and irresponsible".

"Where countries are depending on technologies that have not yet been developed, or indicating they intend to cut in the 2030 and 2040s, quite frankly, that's reckless and irresponsible," he said.

Australia will work to 'normalise' relationship with France

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the prime minister was keen for the phone call to happen.

"It was a productive phone call," told the Nine Network on Friday.

"Obviously, the French are upset, there is no question about that, they have expressed that, and we understand their frustration.

"Once we get through that next year hopefully we can continue with steps to normalise the relationship, but that's the situation at the moment."

AAP

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