Canberra [Australia], October 7 (ANI/Sputnik): Australia considers the return of France's ambassador to Canberra to be a good step, allowing the sides to normalize their bilateral relations, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Thursday.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced Wednesday that the ambassador is returning to Australia after he was recalled less than a month ago to review bilateral relations in light of a new defence pact between Australia, the US and the UK, dubbed AUKUS.
"We will work with France to move forward with our relationship. We recognise this will take time and ongoing engagement following our submarine decision. The return of the [French] Ambassador is a welcome step in this process," Payne said in a statement, as quoted by the 9News broadcaster.
Australia, the US and the UK concluded the new trilateral partnership last month, prompting the former to ditch a bilateral $66 billion submarine deal with Paris. Le Drian described Canberra's withdrawal from the contract as a "stab in the back." (ANI/Sputnik)