President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton welcomed Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to Washington, DC on March 6-7, 2011. On March 7, the Prime Minister joined the President at the White House for a bilateral meeting. President Obama said, "We have no stronger ally than Australia...Not only do we share a language, a commitment to democracy, a set of shared values, but I think there's also a shared sense of open spaces and a pioneer spirit. And as Prime Minister Gillard said the first time we met, it's what makes us 'great mates'."
The President also delivered a message on Libya. He said, "...I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Colonel Qaddafi: It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward, and they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place there."
He continued, "...[T]he bottom line is I think Australia and the United States stand shoulder to shoulder in sending a clear message that we stand for democracy, we stand for an observance of human rights, and that we send a very clear message to the Libyan people that we will stand with them in the face of unwarranted violence and the continuing suppression of democratic ideals that we've seen there."
On March 8, Secretary Clinton welcomed Prime Minister Gillard to the Department of State for a bilateral meeting. The Secretary said, "The United States and Australia are friends by choice, partners, allies committed to meeting the challenges of the 21st century together just as we have met the challenges of the past. "
The Prime Minister then joined the Secretary to participate in the 2011 International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony. Secretary Clinton said, "I'm also delighted to welcome the first woman prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. The prime minister is a wonderful partner in our global efforts to advance the important issues that Australia and the United States share in common. And in particular, she is focused on improving opportunities for women and girls. And when her visit with President Obama was scheduled and she learned that it would coincide with this occasion, she quickly said she wanted to be here. And I was lucky enough to spend time with her last year in Melbourne, and now we're cooperating on everything from solar power to security, but with a special attention paid to the daily lives of women and girls."
Prime Minister Gillard also delivered remarks at the awards ceremony. She said, "I'd like to leave you with one message today, and that message is: Education takes courage as well. It takes moral courage to learn to read. It's an adventure for every child. It's an adventure that never ends. Yesterday, President Obama and I were pleased to see some women who are on that adventure, some girls at Wakefield School in Virginia. But today, I want to say to you there are women and girls around our world who need physical courage in order to get an education, physical courage in order to learn to read. And I believe a great symbol for hope in our world is that there are women now who are able to learn to read in countries where that basic right was denied to them."
You can read the Secretary and Prime Minister's complete remarks here.
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