U.S., Australia Reaffirm Commitment To Face Challenges Together

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
March 25, 2009

Secretary Clinton and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered remarks yesterday after their meeting in Washington.SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted that we’ve had the opportunity, first with the President and now here at the State Department, to discuss a range of important issues with the Prime Minister and with his delegation. America doesn’t have a better friend in the world than Australia, a friend through good times and hard times on so many of the historic and difficult challenges that have faced the United States and Australia, both singly and together. And we have reaffirmed out commitment to working closely on the range of difficult problems, but also exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, again, welcome here to the Benjamin Franklin Room in the State Department.

PRIME MINISTER RUDD: Thank you very much, Secretary of State. It’s good to be back here in the State Department. I’ve been here many times before, and it’s good to be here with you as Secretary of State. We regard you as a genuine friend of Australia, and it’s good to have had this discussion with you.

The Secretary is convening soon a conference in The Hague to galvanize international support for the good people of Afghanistan. This is something which Australia strongly supports. Foreign Minister Smith will be attending. This sort of collaborative effort is important for the future of Afghanistan. It is also further evidence of the strong leadership which we see from the Obama Administration and through the Secretary of State in so many areas of foreign policy.

The only other thing I would say is the Secretary of State’s recent visit to East Asia, I believe, sent a very strong and positive signal to our part of the world about this Administration’s engagement with the Asian Pacific, which will be such a dynamic part of the 21st century.

So, Secretary of State, thank you for hosting me to the State Department today.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Prime Minister. Thank you all.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, one question if you would. The Polish foreign minister was quoted over the weekend with some unusually strong language saying that the Poles had taken considerable risk in agreeing to cooperate in American missile defense plans and that they are waiting on the current Administration’s announcement of its further plans with regard to missile defense and that he hopes that the Polish trust in the Americans was not misplaced. I’m paraphrasing, but it was close to that.

Now given the unusual nature of that language, what can you tell us about whether or not the Poles, to put it colloquially, are being left high and dry?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have a very long and deep relationship with Poland and with the Polish Government and the Polish people. We are going to continue to consult with them and work through the issues concerning security that are of, you know, great interest to not only the Poles but all Europeans and the United States. As members of NATO, we take seriously our alliance commitments and I’m very confident that we will work through whatever issues lie ahead on any front. And that’s part of what will be discussed at the upcoming NATO summit.

Thank you. Thank you all.



New Zealand
March 25, 2009

Linda in New Zealand writes:

We like and respect Kevin Rudd too, from what we have seen so far, and we certainly like and respect Hillary Clinton. Hopefully the ANZUS countries can continue to strengthen ties in our respective new administrations.

March 26, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

It appears that Australia will be onside with the United States in future challenges and that is a good thing. However, one is more concerned with the non-answer Madame Secretary gave to the questioner regarding the anti-ballistic missile defense shield contracted for Poland. The answer she gave was one, we, who are interested in the security of Europe and the United States to a very large degree did not answer the question asked of her. Will the United States honor the building of the shield even though Poland is ready to risk the wrath of Putin and Medvedev who have directly threatened Poles if such a shield is built in Russia's" near abroad", as Russians like to put it, but really mean Poland belongs to them. Just what is the United States going to do, appease the Russians with a quid pro quo like asking them to engage with Iran on nuclear weapons, which will not happen, they will help them schieve one behind the scenes, just like 200 Soviet scientists helped the Iraquis during the First Gulf War against America. Transparency, honesty,and common sense are the bulwarks in diplomacy.


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