Anthony Albanese jets off to NATO summit in Europe as he talks tough on China and Russia


Australia has been invited to a global security summit aimed at uniting nations against countries challenging the international rule of law, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and fears of escalating aggression in Indo-Pacific.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will attend the NATO summit in Spain next week, before flying out to France in a bid to repair the relationship with French president Emmanuel Macron.

He will join leaders of Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand, sought for their advice on building an Indo-Pacific focus for NATO, in addition to countering Russia.

Before jetting off he told reporters Russia’s alliance with China has implications for the Indo-Pacific and democracies around the globe.

Mr Albanese hopes to repair Australia’s relationship to French President Emmanuel Macron after the torpedoed $90billion submarine deal (pictured stepping onto the plane with partner Jodie Haydon)

Before jetting off Mr Albanese told reporters Russia's alliance with China has implications for the Indo-Pacific and democracies around the globe. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, pose for photos with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, on Feb. 4, 2022

Before jetting off Mr Albanese told reporters Russia’s alliance with China has implications for the Indo-Pacific and democracies around the globe. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, pose for photos with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, on Feb. 4, 2022

‘The Russian invasion of Ukraine has upset the norms that we regarded, that the rule of law would be maintained that sovereign nation’s borders would be respected, and that we wouldn’t see the sort of brutal invasion that we’ve seen from Russia in Ukraine,’ he said. 

‘Russia and China, their arrangements and closeness that has occurred in recent times means that it’s also very important for our region,.

‘The people of Ukraine are doing the democratic world, an enormous service. But it’s important that democratic nation stand with Ukraine. That’s the context of this NATO Summit.’ 

In Madrid, Mr Albanese will meet with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez, and on the sidelines with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Mr Albanese will also meet with the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and give an address to the OECD council.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) and his partner Jodie Haydon (left) arrive at Sydney Airport to board a plane to Europe for a NATO Leaders' Summit

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) and his partner Jodie Haydon (left) arrive at Sydney Airport to board a plane to Europe for a NATO Leaders’ Summit 

‘Australia has been unequivocal in its support for Ukraine and its condemnation of President Putin,’ Mr Albanese said.

‘We will continue to stand up for freedom and democracy.’

Mr Albanese said he would be ‘honoured’ to accept an invitation to Paris.

‘France is an important partner and friend to Australia, particularly in our shared vision for peace and stability in the Pacific,’ he said.

The relationship with France soured after former prime minister Scott Morrison scrapped a $90 billion submarine deal.

Mr Albanese has been invited by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to visit the war-torn country, but hasn’t confirmed if he will visit after the NATO summit.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said it was important to get the relationship with France back on track, with it being a ‘Pacific country in terms of their Pacific territories’.

France's President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron (pictured) arrive G7 summit welcome ceremony at Castle Elmau in Kruen, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday, June 26, 2022

France’s President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron (pictured) arrive G7 summit welcome ceremony at Castle Elmau in Kruen, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday, June 26, 2022

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has urged the prime minister to give a potential Ukraine visit serious consideration.

‘We’ve formed a special bond with Ukraine. President Zelenskiy is one of the century’s great heroes, and he’s provided inspiration not only to his people but to the rest of the world as well,’ Mr Dutton said.

‘I hope that we can visit in due course and if the prime minister is able to visit, if that’s the security advice he’s received, that it’s safe for him and for his delegation to visit, then I think it’s entirely appropriate that he would.’

Australia recently agreed to pay French company Naval Group about $830 million in a settlement over the scrapped submarine deal.

Australian PM Anthony Albanese and girlfriend Jodie Haydon arrive at the tarmac to board a flight to Europe (pictured)

Australian PM Anthony Albanese and girlfriend Jodie Haydon arrive at the tarmac to board a flight to Europe (pictured)

Mr Dutton welcomed the prime minister’s trip to France, calling it ‘a good move’.

‘The previous government made a decision that was in our national security interests, on all of the advice that we had,’ he said.

‘The submarine that the French provided wasn’t going to provide the security and the defences that we needed.

‘So I don’t make any apology for the decision we made to go with the nuclear subs under the AUKUS deal because it will be the underpinning of security in our country for the next four or five decades.’

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