Obama's visit cancellations not to harm relationship with Australia: U.S. ambassador

15:05, June 17, 2010      

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By Vienna Ma

The U.S. ambassador to Australia said U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to cancel two trips to Australia will not harm the relationship between the two countries, Australia's media reported on Thursday.

Obama had called off his first planned visit to Australia to deal with healthcare legislation, and his most recent visit was canceled again because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich on Wednesday told the National Press Club the cancellation is disappointing, but is not a sign that the president cannot deal with several issues at once.

Rather, the U.S. President's determination to visit so early in his term was evidence of his commitment to the relationship, Bleich said.

"I don't think that there is any lack of commitment, lack of dedication, lack of ability to chew gum, walk, sing, and juggle flaming chainsaws. The president can do those," Bleich told ABC Online.

"But it's just unfortunate timing and one of the great things about the relationship between the United States and Australia is that we understand each other."

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