Macron talks Iran, China and all things ′delicious′ in Australia | News | DW | 02.05.2018
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Macron talks Iran, China and all things 'delicious' in Australia

On his first Australia trip, Emmanuel Macron and Malcolm Turnbull discussed the Iran nuclear deal and the rise of China. Macron's unusually strong English also slipped when he referred to Turnbull's wife as "delicious."

During a three-day visit to Australia, French President Emmanuel Macron said the Iran nuclear deal should be respected, but also needs to be broadened.

Speaking at a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the second day of his visit, Macron said a broader negotiation was needed because "nobody wants a war in the region, and nobody wants an escalation in terms of tension in the region."

A May 12 deadline is coming up quickly for Washington to renew its support for the deal, which was negotiated in 2015 between Tehran and the United States, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and France.

Read more: What is the Iran nuclear deal?

Macron said the Iran nuclear deal was "a very important negotiation and is the best way to monitor the current nuclear activity of the Iranian government." 

"That is why first we negotiated it, we signed it," he said. "It's good to respect it and that, for me, is a good beginning." 

Macron said the accord could be broadened to include three new areas. "One, about the nuclear activity post 2025. Second, in order to have better control and monitoring of the ballistic activity of the Iranian regime. Third, in order to have a containment of the Iranian activity in theregion, especially Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen," he said.

Macron also took to Twitter following the conference,  saying he was "counting on our Australian friends to be by our side on the 11th of November to build peace in the world during the Paris Peace Forum."

Watch video 01:56

Can the Iran nuclear deal be saved?

China's rise 'good news for everybody'

Turnbull said he welcomed China's economic rise, which "has been enabled and made possible by a rules-based order in our region."

Read more: Have China-Australia ties reached a new low?

Australia has concern over Chinese infrastructure projects in the area, especially regarding reports — denied by Beijing — that China wants to create a permanent military base in Vanuatu. It follows China's claim of islands in the South China Sea in recent years.

Macron is due to visit the Pacific French-controlled island of New Caledonia after his Australia visit, where there will soon be an independence referendum.

Macron echoed Turnbull's comment that "China's rise is very good news for everybody" in terms of global and regional economic growth, but added: "What's important is to preserve a rules-based development in the region, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, and to preserve the necessary balances."

Lost in translation?

As the press conference wrapped up, Macron raised eyebrows when he thanked Turnbull and his "delicious" wife, Lucy Turnbull, for their hospitality.

"I want to thank you for your welcome, thank you and your delicious wife for your warm welcome," Macron said.

Twitter users speculated as to whether the comment was intentional or a slip in Macron's English, despite having switched from French to English mostly flawlessly throughout the press conference as he answered questions from reporters from both countries. Macron's command of English, and his willingness to use it in public, is unusual among French presidents.

The French word for delicious — delicieux — can also be translated as "delightful" or "lovely."

Macron also said the memory of Australian sacrifice in France during both world wars was "a powerful message at a time when nationalism is looming, entrenched behind its borders and its hostility to the rest of the world."

He thanked Australia for sending "a huge part of its population" to assist France in fighting in both world wars, adding that "no great nation has ever been built by turning its back on the world."

law/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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