Australia to Macron: 'We did not destroy the Eiffel Tower'

Australia to Macron: 'We did not destroy the Eiffel Tower'

Australia's deputy prime minister said France was overreacting to the submarine crisis, stressing in his response to Macron: "We didn't sabotage the Eiffel Tower."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied that he lied to French President Emmanuel Macron while secretly negotiating a submarine deal with the United States and Britain, an accusation that has escalated a row over Australia's abrupt cancellation of a French deal.

For his part, Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, indicated that France was overreacting, saying: "We did not destroy the Eiffel Tower."

Australia in September canceled a contract signed five years ago worth A$90 million ($66 million) with mostly French state-owned Naval Group to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.

Instead, Australia formed an alliance with Britain and the United States to acquire a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines built using American technology.

Macron told Australian reporters Sunday evening in Rome, where he and Morrison attended the G20 summit, that the new alliance was "very bad news for Australia's credibility and very bad news for the trust that great partners with Australia can have."

Asked by a reporter if he thought Morrison had lied to him, Macron replied: "I don't think, I know he lied."

Morrison said he did not lie to Macron, while senior Australian government ministers criticized the French president for escalating the row with a personal insult.

"We didn't steal an island, we didn't vandalize the Eiffel Tower, it was a decade," Joyce said in Morey, New South Wales, on Monday.

He added: "Contracts have terms and conditions, and one of those terms and conditions and suggestions is that you may give up the contract. We have given up on this contract."
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