ScoMo hits back after Macron's liar remarks: 'NOT COPPING'

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Scott Morrison has said he will not accept "sledging of Australia" after French President Emmanuel Macron took a swipe at him on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome.

At the G20 summit, Australian journalists asked Mr Macron whether he believes Australia's Prime Minister lied to him.

"I don't think, I know," the French president said.

"I have a lot of respect and a lot of friendship for your people," Mr Macron said.

"I just say when we have respect, you have to be true and you have to behave in line and consistently with this value."

Mr Morrison refuted Mr Macron's claim he was lying while he was in Rome and then again in Glasgow, while attending the COP26 climate talks.

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) greets Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (L) upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 15 June 2021.
French President Emmanuel Macron (right) accused Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: EPA

"I must say that the statements that were made, questioning Australia's integrity and the slurs that have been placed on Australia ... I'm not going to cop sledging of Australia," he said.

"I'm not going to cop that on behalf of other Australians."

He also said he had no interest in "personalising" such matters, and did not want Australia to "settle for less", saying the country always had "aspirations" to have nuclear powered submarines.

The shock announcement of Australia partnering with the UK and US and ditching the French deal was kept under tight wraps.

The move infuriated France, who say they were only informed hours before a press conference announcing the new deal.

Mr Macron responded by temporarily recalling its ambassadors from Australia and the US and several prominent figures condemned Australia's handling of the deal.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd said the spat was "enormously damaging" to Australia's standing on the world stage, while Malcolm Turnbull said it was "deceitful".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to the French president's allegations of him lying. Source: EPA
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to the French president's allegations of him lying. Source: EPA

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Mr Morrison had contradicted himself about what Mr Macron was told and when.

"What you need when you deal with international relations and with diplomacy, is honesty and integrity," Mr Albanese said.

"The fact is that President Macron has said very clearly and unequivocally that Scott Morrison did not tell him, he can't have made it any clearer."

Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce wanted everyone to move on from the submarine issue.

"We didn't steal an island. We didn't deface the Eiffel Tower. It was a contract," he said.

"I hope that President Macron understands that, ultimately, Australia and France have got so much more in common and so much into the future than a contract which is now in the past."

Australia had signed a contract with France in 2016 to acquire conventional Attack Class submarines from French company Naval Group before Australia announced the deal was off.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up as he stands with Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison and French President Emmanuel Macron as they join G20 leaders during a visit to the Trevi fountain in Rome, Italy during the G20 summit
Australia scrapping the submarine deal with France in favour of a deal with the UK and the US, raised several concerns. Source: PA Wire

Macron had 'little doubt' about future of doomed deal

Sources close to the dispute have contradicted Mr Macron's claims about Mr Morrison lying, as he knew the submarine deal was in a trouble for quite some time.

 Mr Morrison made several attempts to raise issues with France's submarines before the AUKUS deal was final, sources told the Daily Telegraph. 

In the days leading up to the AUKUS deal being announced, Mr Macron reportedly messaged Mr Morrison, saying he was not available at the time Australia wanted to call.

“Should I expect good or bad news for our joint submarines ambitions?” the French president reportedly said, as per messages shared with the Daily Telegraph.

Sources who were reportedly privy to the conversations between Mr Morrison and Mr Macron, say there was "little doubt" about the future of the France-Australia deal.

“Macron was told pretty clearly, but he just didn’t want to hear it,” one source said, according to the Daily Telegraph.

- With AAP

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