Australia to pay French submarine builder $835 million for scrapped contract

Sydney, Australia, Jun 11 (EFE).- Australia will pay French shipbuilder Naval Group AU$835 million ($589 million) in compensation for unilaterally breaking a contract for the construction of a dozen submarines, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced Saturday.

During a press conference, Albanese said he hopes to travel to Paris soon to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron, with whom he had finalized the details of the agreement that could end diplomatic tension between the two countries.

The Australian prime minister, who thanked the state-owned Naval Group for agreeing to the deal, said that he sees a personal meeting with Macron as “absolutely vital to resetting that relationship, which is an important one for Australia’s national interests.”

“The tensions between Australia and France, I think, have been pretty obvious and they go from the top – I intend to have an honest relationship with France and one that is based upon integrity and mutual respect,” he said.

Australia announced in September last year, under the government of Scott Morrison, that it was scrapping the contract with the Naval Group, signed in 2016 and valued at AU$90 billion for the construction of 12 diesel-powered submarines.

The Oceanian country broke the agreement immediately after sealing a security alliance with the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS), which will provide it with nuclear submarines.

The French government accused Canberra of “breaking the relationship of trust” between the two countries and called in the ambassadors of Australia and the US for consultations, an unprecedented decision in relations with those allies.

Naval Group said it would present to Australia the invoice of what it will have to pay for the expenses that the company and its industrial partners had already paid or had agreed to, in accordance with what was stipulated in the contract. EFE


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