Australia hosts top US diplomat, defense chief for bilateral talks

Australia hosts top US diplomat, defense chief for bilateral talks

Besides AUKUS, Premier Albanese discusses climate change, critical minerals, clean energy with visiting US officials

By Necva Tastan

ISTANBUL (AA) – Australia is hosting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to boost bilateral relations.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with the visiting US officials on Friday before they sit with their Australian counterparts for a 2+2 summit – the first since 2019.

“This year’s … meeting … is a chance to reaffirm our shared values and interests,” said Albanese.

“We discussed the work of President (Joe) Biden's administration in progressing legislation this year to realize our shared AUKUS ambitions,” he tweeted.

On Sept. 15, 2021, the US, the UK, and Australia announced the formation of AUKUS, a trilateral security pact, under which Canberra will get nuclear-powered submarines.

Ahead of his Australian trip, Blinken said in New Zealand “door is open” for New Zealand to “engage” in the AUKUS alliance.

Albanese said he also discussed the economic opportunity of climate change, critical minerals, and clean energy compact with the visiting top US officials.

Meeting with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Males, Austin tweeted: “We're taking steps to strengthen an unbreakable alliance that spans over 100 years. Our work together is key to regional peace and prosperity.”

In her remarks to the media before meeting Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said: “Australians understand, certainly the government recognizes that we live in challenging times and how important this – not just our alliance but our friendship – is at this time, where we want a region and a world which is peaceful, stable, and prosperous,” a transcript released by the US State Department read.

“And we understand the importance of working closely with you to ensure that that is achieved,” she said, as Blinken lauded Washington’s relations with Canberra as “no greater friend, no greater partner, no greater ally than Australia.”

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