Anthony Albanese meets with UK, French and EU counterparts as G20 comes to a close in Bali
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has pushed trade and defence ties in a series of back-to-back meeting with world leaders, as the G20 summit wraps up in Bali.
As some leaders made a dash to the airport after the final session of the talks wrapped up, including US President Joe Biden, Mr Albanese met with French President Emmanuel Macron, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Mr Sunak is the third occupant of 10 Downing Street since Mr Albanese won Australia's election in May — but like his predecessors, Mr Sunak was keen to discuss the AUKUS security and defence pact.
The British prime minister would be hoping Australia will pick UK-designed nuclear submarines, even though the US model under consideration may be a more likely contender.
Mr Albanese was not keen to give away any details of how those negotiations were going, after the meeting.
"You will have to wait until March, and we will release the documentation and we'll make announcements when appropriate," he told journalists on Wednesday night.
"But we won't deal with national security procurement at media conferences."
As he entered the meeting with Mr Sunak, Mr Albanese took particular interest in his British counterpart's stationery – the red leather folder Mr Sunak carries caught his eye.
"I have a little $1.50 folder," Mr Albanese quipped.
"We're going to get you one of these," Mr Sunak laughed.
"That's part of the free trade agreement," Mr Albanese replied.
The jovial meeting followed a sit down with Mr Macron – seemingly best friends with Mr Albanese, following their Paris meeting in July.
Mr Albanese has spent a lot of time apologising for the way his predecessor Scott Morrison tore up the $90 billion future submarine contract with French shipbuilder Naval Group, when the AUKUS pact was announced.
He said he hoped Mr Macron would travel to Australia next year.
"France, of course, is an Indian Ocean power and a Pacific power as well," Mr Albanese said.
"President Macron, if he visits Australia, will also visit New Caledonia.
"And we spoke about how we could have an increased engagement and cooperation in defence and security matters."
Earlier in the day, Mr Albanese met with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, as free trade negotiations between Australia and the EU continues.
The declaration, approved on Wednesday, says most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine but there were other views.
The prime minister argued the G20 summit had been a success, with most world leaders coming together to condemn Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Albanese said leaders were acutely aware of the role Chinese President Xi Jinping, who he met with on Tuesday night, could play in the war.
"I used the opportunity of the bilateral with President Xi to encourage him to use his influence to promote peace, and to pressure Russia into withdrawal from Ukraine.
"That's the solution here."
Russia is likely to continue to dominate discussion at the APEC summit in Bangkok.
Mr Albanese will travel to Thailand on Thursday afternoon.
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