Australian PM to meet US President in first official bilateral talk

Tuesday, Nov 17, 2015,14:17 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Melbourne | Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and US President Barack Obama are expected to hold their first official bilateral talks today in Philippines, with discussion on counter-terrorism likely to top the agenda of their meeting.

Turnbull, according to ABC report, has already met briefly with Obama at the G20 talks earlier this week, but today’s talks which will be heldon the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit willconstitute the first official bilateral meeting between the two leaders.

Turnbull’s scheduled meeting with Obama in Manila comes following the terror attacks in Paris on Friday that left 129 killed and 350 wounded. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said unfolding events over the past week had ensured counter-terrorism would be at the top of the agenda.

I expect that the attacks in Paris, the European response, the international effort underway to end the conflict in Syria and Iraq and to deprive Daesh, Islamic State of an operating base from which to launch attacks will be a pivotal part of the discussions, she said.

Bishop said Australia had 780 Australian Defence Force personnel in the Middle East at the moment, training local military forces and conducting air strikes. She said any increased effort would have to be at the consent of the Iraqi government, and within international law.

We will speak to President Obama about the negotiations that are underway between US, Russia and others to find a way to end the Syrian conflict, she said. Australia does not act unilaterally, we are part of the US-led coalition. It has to be a coordinated measures calculated effort, the foreign minister added.