Australian FM welcomes Hillary Clinton's visit

14:01, November 06, 2010      

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Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Saturday welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to Australia for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) talks.

As her first official visit since taking the portfolio, Clinton arrived at Melbourne airport on Saturday afternoon. She jogged down the stairs of the plane on to the tarmac, dressed casually in a black jacket, pants and flat shoes, and looking relaxed.

She was greeted by Rudd together with Australian ambassador Kim Beazley, U.S. ambassador to Australia Geoffrey Bleich and other dignitaries.

Rudd said Secretary Clinton's visit will underline the enduring nature of the Alliance between Australia and the United States, and progress the bilateral cooperation.

"I'm delighted to welcome Secretary Clinton to Melbourne today (Saturday). Secretary Clinton is a true friend of Australia," Rudd said in a statement released on Saturday.

"The Australia-U.S. Alliance is fundamental to our nation's foreign policy, defense and security arrangements. It is vital to Australia's national interests," he said.

The AUSMIN meetings, to be attended by Australian foreign and defense ministers, and the U.S. secretaries of state and defense, will take place on Monday in Melbourne, and will focus on regional and global security issues, including the war in Afghanistan.

Rudd said he looks forward to discussing with Secretary Clinton how Australia and the United States can work together to advance their common interests in relation to regional and global strategic challenges, as well as the two nations' goals on international development.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised to show Clinton a good time in Melbourne when the pair spoke briefly at the 16-nation East Asia Summit in Vietnam last week.

Australia is the final leg of Clinton's 10-day Asia-Pacific tour, which has taken in Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, she will fly out of Australia on Monday late afternoon.



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