Australia says will be patient rebuilding French ties

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he hasn't been able to reach French President Emmanuel Macron, amid a diplomatic row over a major submarine deal.

Speaking in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Morrison showed his resolve.

"The opportunity for that call is not yet. But we'll be patient. We understand their disappointment and that is the way you manage difficult issues."

Earlier this week, Paris recalled its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington after Australia tore up a French contract for diesel submarines worth tens of billions of dollars.

Instead, it signed a new agreement for nuclear-powered submarines and formed a new security alliance with the U.S. and Britain known as AUKUS.

Morrison stuck by his decision to pull out of the deal with France.

"At the end of the day, as a government, we have to do what is right for Australia and serve Australia's national security interests. And I will always choose Australia's national security interests first."

Washington however has had a warmer reception from France, as U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to Macron over the phone on Wednesday.

After the call, France said its ambassador would return to Washington next week.

Morrison was not fazed.

"I look forward and when the time is right and when the opportunity presents that we will have a similar discussion. (...) Those issues will take further time to work through than the ones that were being dealt with between the United States and France."

He said both AUKUS and the new submarine deal had received bipartisan support during his meetings with U.S. lawmakers and officials.

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