Anthony Albanese has confirmed his plans for his next overseas trip, which include critical talks with an old ally.
Anthony Albanese will fly to Europe on Sunday to attend the NATO summit, followed by a meeting with the French president.
Australia has been invited to participate in the NATO summit as an “enhanced opportunities partner” of the military alliance between North America and 28 European nations.
Through this partnership, Mr Albanese will engage with Asia-Pacific partners and attend official engagements, including bilateral meetings with NATO member countries.
Mr Albanese said the meeting couldn’t come at a more critical time, particularly given the ongoing conflict in eastern Europe, sparked by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Australia has been unequivocal in its support for Ukraine and its condemnation of President Putin,” Mr Albanese said in a statement on Friday.
“We will continue to stand up for freedom and democracy. I look forward to engaging on the strategic priorities for our region.”
Mr Albanese said he was “honored” to accept an invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Paris after the NATO summit.
“France is an important partner and friend to Australia, particularly in our shared vision for peace and stability in the Pacific,” he said.
Mr Albanese said on Thursday he viewed his trip to Paris as an opportunity to reset the relationship between Australia and France.
Paris-Canberra relations soured after former prime minister Scott Morrison tore up to contact with the French company Naval Group in favor of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS agreement.
The acrimony over the way the deal was handled boiled over when Mr Macron accused Mr Morrison of having lied to him about the matter.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, who will be acting prime minister while Mr Albanese is overseas, said there was “work to be done” to fix Australia’s relationship with France.
“(It) is a critically important relationship for the country and it’s going to be really important that Anthony is going to have the opportunity of meeting with President Macron,” he told Nine’s Today.
Peter Dutton said the Coalition wouldn’t apologise for the decision to tear up the French submarine contract.
“We took a decision that was in our country’s best interests and we don’t apologise for that with AUKUS,” the Opposition Leader told Today.
Originally published as Anthony Albanese to attend NATO summit and meet with French president