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Australia rejects allegations of lying in dispute with France

Paris should have recognized Canberra’s “serious concerns” in the dispute over the failed submarine deal.

In the dispute over the failed submarine deal with France, Australia rejected the accusation of lying. The Australian government has expressed skepticism about the planned purchase of Paris “frankly and honestly,” Defense Minister Peter Dutton told Sky News Australia on Sunday. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, said France should have recognized these “deep and serious concerns”.

“We have made it clear that we will make a decision based on our strategic national interests,” Morrison said at a news conference in Sydney. Paris should have known that French submarines “would not correspond to our strategic interests”.

Defense Secretary Dutton said the arms project was years behind schedule and over budgeted. “The government had these concerns and we have raised them and we want to work closely with the French and will continue to do so in the future,” he said.

The United States of America, Great Britain and Australia recently announced the creation of a new Indo-Pacific security alliance. As a result, Australia halted a multi-billion dollar submarine deal with France. Instead, Australia wants to buy US nuclear submarines.

France reacted angrily to the announcement and invited its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra to return to consultations on Friday in an unusual diplomatic move between allies. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also accused the United States and Australia of “lying” and “duplicity” as well as betrayal of trust and “ignorance”.

Britain’s new foreign secretary, Liz Truss, has defended her country’s security pact with the United States and Australia after heavy criticism from France and China. “Liberties must be defended, so we build strong security relationships around the world,” the conservative politician wrote on Sunday in the Telegraph. After nuclear-powered submarines, this alliance also wants to expand the use of artificial intelligence for defense. Great Britain demonstrates its commitment to security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

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After Brexit, the British government wants to focus on close relations with the Asian region, and also in order to become more independent from Europe. Truss, who previously had to negotiate post-Brexit trade deals, took over from her predecessor Dominic Raab a few days ago as part of a cabinet reshuffle.

(APA/dpa/AFP)