Monday, November 12, 2012


Published: November 13, 2012
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has touched down in Perth ahead of the annual AUSMIN talks with Australian officials this week.
Mrs Clinton flew into Australia amid tight security, with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to fly in later on Tuesday.
A motorcade of 11 cars and three buses met Mrs Clinton, along with Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Foreign Minister Bob Carr, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett, Australian ambassador to the US Kim Beazley and US ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich.
AUSMIN is the highest-level forum for Australia and US consultation on foreign policy, defence and strategic issues.
This visit could be Mrs Clinton's last to Australia as Secretary of State, with Mrs Clinton expected to step down from the role early in the new year. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is due to meet with Mrs Clinton later today ahead of the formal talks tomorrow.
AUSMIN is expected to cover regional issues important to both nations as well as the American military presence at northern Australian airbases and the future of the war in Afghanistan.
Senator Carr described the talks as "tending" to the relationship with the US.
"You always keep your friendships in good repair," he told Sky News.
Senator Carr said that he expected the talks to go beyond the Asia-Pacific, particularly since Australia had won a seat on the UN Security Council for 2013-14.
He predicted that the civil war in Syria, as was as Myanmar's moves towards democracy would be discussed.
Despite being intrigued about speculation that Mrs Clinton might run for US presidency in 2016, Senator Carr said he would not be quizzing his counterpart on the subject.
"I’d love to but I wouldn't be so rude and it would be quite impolite of me, quite undiplomatic of me," Senator Carr said.
"I think I’ll curb those instincts and be the perfect diplomat throughout these meetings."
On Sunday, Mr Smith told the ABC that the talks would look at ''challenges and opportunities''.
''I suspect one of the challenges that will confront Leon Panetta as the United States looks to implementing the so-called pivot to Asia as it rebalances the disposition of its forces from effectively 50/50 to NATO in the northern hemisphere to 40/60 to the Asia-Pacific,'' Mr Smith said.
Over the weekend, Mr Smith dismissed reports that the US was worried about recent cuts to Australia's defence budget and that the issue would be on the agenda.
After AUSMIN, Mrs Clinton will travel to Adelaide to meet Australian business leaders and visit Techport Australia and pay a visit to family friends.
Mr Beazley was pleased to see the Secretary of State in Australia.
"On a beautiful day in Perth, great to welcome Hillary to my hometown," he posted on Twitter
With Judith Ireland, AAP
This story was found at: http://www.watoday.com.au/opinion/political-news/clinton-touches-down-in-australia-for-security-talks-20121113-299i5.html

No comments:

Post a Comment