Former French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday praised the electoral defeat of Australian premier Scott Morrison and expressed hope to re-engage with Canberra constructively in the future.
"The actions taken in regard with France … were notoriously brutal, cynical and, I would be tempted to say, a form of notorious incompetence, and that makes me happy to tell you tonight the prime minister's defeat suits me very well," Le Drian said, taking a dig at the defeated Australian leader at the ceremony to hand over the charge to his successor Catherine Colonna, evoking laughter from the crowd, BFMTV news reported.
"I hope we can renew a frank and constructive dialogue with Australia in the future," he added.
Morrison has conceded defeat in the legislative elections, despite millions of votes yet to be counted, and congratulated Labour's Anthony Albanese on his victory.
France blames Morrison for scuttling the multi-billion euro contract for 12 conventionally-powered submarines last September, in favor of Aukus, a new defense alliance with Washington and London to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
The axing of the deal outraged Paris and led to the recall of its envoys from Washington and Canberra. US President Joe Biden had admitted that the US was "clumsy" in handling the deal.
Le Drian accused the western allies of "stabbing in the back," "lying, duplicity, and a major breach of trust and contempt."
The dispute continued to fan fires as President Emmanuel Macron charged Morrison with lying to France, and blamed him for indulging in an "inelegant act" by leaking personal messages between the two leaders on the submarines to the media.
Morrison maintained that Paris was informed beforehand about the concerns of strategic capability in the manufacturing of the submarines.