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An Australian in Paris: Jet-setting Albo out to build bridges with France

Politics

Anthony Albanese will jet off to Paris to mend the relationship with the French over a scrapped submarine deal, having represented the nation at a major security meeting in Spain.

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The prime minister spoke at the NATO Summit in Madrid on Wednesday, where he warned world leaders of China’s assertive and expanding influence in the Pacific, which he said threatened regional security.

Albanese met with the leaders of Italy, Germany and the European Commission, as well as New Zealand, Japan and South Korea – who alongside Australia form a group known as the Asia-Pacific Four.

He also held a one-on-one with his UK counterpart Boris Johnson, gifting him a Rabbitohs rugby league jersey at their first meeting as leaders and pledging to work together on security in the Indo-Pacific region and climate change.

Hewill on Thursday morning hold a meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Madrid, before flying out to Paris.

After landing, Albanese will address the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Council and meet with French business leaders.

The prime minister will on Friday be hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace.

Albanese is visiting at the invitation of Macron, with the two to work on repairing the damaged relationship after a $90 billion submarine deal with Naval Group was dumped in favour of nuclear-powered submarines to be provided under the AUKUS partnership with the United States and United Kingdom.

It is yet to be confirmed whether Albanese will take up Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s offer to visit him in Kyiv as a show of support for his war-torn country.

The prime minister said security assessments are still underway.

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