Tillerson, Mattis to visit Australia for bilateral talks

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Canberra, May 31 (IANS) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis will visit Australia on June 5-6 to participate in the 2017 Australia-US Ministerial Consultations.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced on Wednesday that the discussions would involve improving the bilateral alliance and will also provide an opportunity for the leaders to discuss pressing regional issues, Xinhua news agency reported.

Bishop said AUSMIN was the “premier forum for Australia-US bilateral consultations on foreign affairs, defence and strategic matters”. She said the 2017 meeting would be one of extra importance because it involved the new Trump administration.

“This will be the first AUSMIN with the new US Administration, and will build on our strong, dynamic bilateral relationship and our steadfast alliance, which began with the signing of the ANZUS Yreaty in 1951,” Bishop said.

She said the leaders will be discussing “our mutual strategic priorities, including North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and defeating Islamic State (IS)”.

Australia-US cooperation and collaboration in the Pacific and Southeast Asia will also be a key focus in the meeting, Bishop said.

–IANS

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