Pen pals Abbott and Obama write op-ed together

Published online by The Los Angeles Times at 10.


25am Eastern Australian time, the piece spoke broadly on the discussions between the two leaders which took place during Mr Abbott’s visit to Washington this week.

Pointing to the recent 70th anniversary of the D-day landings at Normandy, Mr Abbott and President Obama highlighted ongoing collaborations between Australia and the US on issues of economics and security.

“Australia and the United States have consistently stood together, not just for our own security but for the well-being of people far beyond our borders,” they wrote.

“Today, we are standing shoulder to shoulder against terrorism, and we continue to work together training and supporting Afghan forces as they prepare to assume responsibility for their own future.”

Security for Asia, Iraq

The piece also detailed challenges facing both countries, including regional instability in Asia and potential conflict.

It stated that neither the United States nor Australia had a position on territorial disputes, but noted that they “both strongly oppose the use of intimidation, coercion or aggression to advance any country’s claims”.

“If we want to live in a prosperous region, international disputes must be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law,” they wrote.

“Freedom of lawful sea and air navigation must be sustained, so that the movement of goods and people on which we all depend continues uninterrupted.”

The piece did not mention conflict in Iraq, despite the developments featuring in one hour discussion between the two leaders.

Mr Abbott told the Nine Network that he hadn’t ruled out Australian involvement in any military action.

“This is a serious situation,” he said.

“It would be a very serious and critical development for the world generally if a large chunk of Iraq was to fall into the hands of al-Qaeda-type terrorists.”

Climate change

Climate change was not mentioned, though in comments made to media separately, Mr Abbott said the matter had been discussed between the two leaders.

The prime minister said that despite a vastly different approach to the US on carbon emissions his government was treating the issue “with great seriousness”.

“It was raised and we had a very good discussion because Australia is taking very serious action on climate change,” Mr Abbott told Nine Network.

The comments come after a difference in opinion between the two leaders, with Mr Obama having described climate change as the most significant long-term challenge facing the planet.

Mr Abbott said earlier this week, ahead of talks with Mr Obama that while climate change was “a significant global issue”, he did not believe it was the most important issue facing the world.

The prime minister has been resisting a push by US officials to have climate change included on the agenda for the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane in November.

G20 Summit

The piece also pointed towards the upcoming G20 summit, which the leaders said would focus on boosting economic growth and creating jobs.

“The Brisbane summit in November will be an opportunity to put in place strong measures to strengthen infrastructure investment, promote energy efficiency, fight tax avoidance and evasion, and complete the financial regulatory reform agenda outlined by the G-20 (sic) in response to the global financial crisis,” they wrote.

“The challenges our nations face in the world today are numerous and complex. The partnerships we need among nations for common approaches to shared problems are not easily forged.

“But standing with our D-day veterans in Normandy and reflecting on all they achieved seven decades ago, we were reminded of a simple truth: When our countries stand together, our nations and the world are more secure, more prosperous and more just. Bound by our shared history and values, that is the cause to which we rededicate ourselves today.”

– with AAP