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Australia's PM: 'no opportunity' to meet with Macron at UN


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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney, Australia on February 8, 2019.
Saeed KHAN (AFP/Archives)Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney, Australia on February 8, 2019.

Morrison will meet Quad leaders in Washington following the UN General Assembly

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced to reporters on Tuesday that he will not meet separately with French President Emmanuel Macron at the UN General Assembly. 

"There is not an opportunity for that at this time. I'm sure that opportunity will come in time," Morrison informed the media in New York.

The statement follows a recent series of diplomatic disputes between France and Australia, sparked by Australia's severance of a 2016 French submarine deal in favor of the AUKUS pact with the US and UK.

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AUKUS, an agreement between Australia, the US, and the UK, is a submarine deal intended to strengthen regional security within the Indo-Pacific. But the pact arrived at the cost of French anger -- Australia cancelled a $66 billion submarine contract with the nation.

Leaders of the EU on Monday expressed solidarity with France, a move that could have implications for Australia's attempt to sign a free trade agreement with the institution. 

However, Australia's Trade Minister Dan Tehan said the EU talks would continue as planned.

Australia and the EU are set to engage in trade discussions on October 12.

After completing his rounds at the UN General Assembly, Morrison will attend a separate meeting composed of Quad leaders in Washington. Beside Australia, the US, India, and Japan constitute the Quad grouping.