'Shocked' Obama phoned Rudd before Gillard as she took charge as Oz PM

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Canberra, July 12 (ANI): The news of Julia Gillard taking over from Rudd as the Prime Minister of Australia shocked US President Barack Obama to such an extent that he called the latter first before congratulating Gillard for her success.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, US officials familiar with the call said that Obama was not only surprised but also shocked at the news, as he appreciated everything that they had done together and had hoped they could continue their friendship and their partnership in working on international challenges.

Rudd replied that he had decided to stay in Parliament, and fully intended to remain active on international issues he had been involved in.

The paper also stated that Obama evidently formed the impression that Rudd might be interested in some sort of international job, and he hastened to offer support. He said he would be favourably disposed towards working with Rudd in any future areas of international interest.

According to an informed official, a special envoy-type post could be created for Rudd, just as Tony Blair has been appointed a special envoy for Middle East peace.

"Kevin is somebody who I probably share as much of a world view as any world leader out there. I find him smart but humble. He works wonderfully well in multilateral settings, he's always constructive, incisive," Obama said in April this year.

Rudd is expected in Washington today for the annual Australian American Leadership Dialogue, of which he is a founding member.

Officials have been arranging appointments for him to see the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the senior director for Asian Affairs on the White House's National Security Council, Jeff Bader, the president of the World Bank, Bob Zoellick, and the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. (ANI)

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