Obama's trip to Australia shortened to 24 hours

08:52, March 16, 2010      

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U.S. president Barack Obama's trip to Australia will be shorter than first planned of three days, with about only 24 hours in Australia, Australian media reports Tuesday.

Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) reports Tuesday morning the White House says the President is pushing ahead with his trip to Asia and Australia because the area is fundamental to America's economic and security interests.

The President will address Federal Parliament on March 26 after flying from Bali the day before and dining with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the Lodge.

"The Asia-Pacific region is fundamental to the economic and security interests of the United States in the 21st century," U.S. National Security Council chief of staff Denis McDonough said in a telephone briefing to Australian media as quoted by the ABC.

"And in order to effectively advance those interests, we need to deepen and broaden our engagement in our leadership in the region, which is why we have taken a more aggressive role in engaging groups like APEC and ASEAN."

The report says some were wondering if this trip would go ahead at all, after being delayed and condensed so the president could try to win support for his domestic health reforms.

Obama's shortened itinerary will include a meeting with Governor-General Quentin Bryce, talk with Prime Minister and a range of events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Australia-U.S. alliance. Climate change, trade and terrorism will all be on the agenda of the President's trip.

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