Australia

Pacific leaders congratulate Anthony Albanese as French foreign minister takes final swipe at Scott Morrison

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Prime Minister Scott Morrison losing the federal election on Saturday “suits me fine”.
Mr Morrison angered Paris in September by ditching a multibillion-dollar submarine contract with France in favour of a new deal negotiated in secret with the US and Britain.

“The prime minister’s defeat suits me fine,” Mr Le Drian said.

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“The actions taken at the moment when they were taken were of such brutality and cynicism, and I would even be tempted to say of unequivocal incompetence,” Mr Le Drian said.
“I hope we can resume frank and constructive dialogue with Australia in the future,” he said, in comments to reporters as he handed over to his successor Catherine Colonna.
Mr Le Drian accused Australia of back-stabbing and the United States of betrayal at the time.

Paris recalled its envoys to both Australia and the United States over the furore.

But President Emmanuel Macron later ordered the French ambassador to Washington to return to his post after a call with US President Joe Biden.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Anthony Albanese for defeating Mr Morrison in the election Saturday evening.

“Congratulations Anthony Albanese on your election as prime minister of Australia,” Mr Johnson wrote on Twitter.

“I look forward to working with you as we reap the rewards of our comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, the AUKUS partnership and the unmatched closeness between the British and Australian people.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had a close relationship with Mr Morrison, also congratulated Mr Albanese.

The Solomon Islands has congratulated Mr Albanese on his election victory, saying much “remains to be done” in the bilateral relationship, as Pacific islands neighbour Fiji welcomed the party’s climate policies.

Mr Albanese will be sworn in as the 31st prime minister on Monday along with four senior party members, even as vote counting continues, before heading to Tokyo to attend a Quad summit on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden and the prime ministers of Japan and India.

The Solomon Islands’ recent signing of a security pact with China was a major election issue for outgoing prime minister Scott Morrison, with Western allies concerned it could provide a gateway for a Chinese military presence in the Pacific.

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China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, is expected to visit the Solomon Islands this week, local media have reported, although Reuters could not confirm that with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s office.
In a statement on Sunday, Mr Sogavare said his nation “remains Australia’s steadfast friend and development partner of choice”.
The Solomon Islands are grateful for Australia’s financial, medical and security support over the years, he said, adding “much however, remains to be done”.
Mr Sogavare had written to Albanese and “assured him of taking Solomon Islands’ relationship with Australia to another level under Albanese’s tenure”.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama congratulated Albanese in a tweet, writing: “Of your many promises to support the Pacific, none is more welcome than your plan to put the climate first.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she had called Albanese on Sunday, and that the two countries would continue to work together “deepening our partnership with our close friends in the Pacific, and advancing our interests on the world stage”.
“Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand are at our best when we work together,” she said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Mr Albanese and thanked Mr Morrison for Australia’s past relationship with his country.
“I thank former Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his valuable partnership over the years and wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” Mr Trudeau said.

“As the new Australian government takes shape, I look forward to working with Prime Minister-elect Albanese to deepen relations between our two countries to benefit Canadians and Australians alike.

“As the government of Canada continues the work to develop a new, comprehensive Indo-Pacific strategy, we will keep strengthening our partnership with Australia while creating economic growth and new opportunities for people on both sides of the Pacific.”
Mr Albanese will be sworn in as the 31st prime minister of Australia on Monday.

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