Hillary Clinton, Gates to visit Australia in November

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Melbourne, Oct. 23 (ANI): U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates will visit Australia in November as part of a two-week tour of the Asia-Pacific region.

The US Department of State confirmed that Clinton would arrive in Australia early next month for discussions with Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

"The visit will be Mrs Clinton's first to Australia since she was appointed secretary of State by President Barack Obama in 2008," the Daily Telegraph quoted the U.S. State Department, as saying in a statement.

"Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith will also be involved in the discussions, which will focus on regional and global security issues," the statement added.

It said Defense Secretary Robert Gates would join Clinton for the 25th anniversary of the annual Australia-United States ministerial consultation in Melbourne.

The visit to Australia will come at the end of Clinton's two-week regional tour of Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Cambodia and Malaysia.

The Obama administration has described South-East Asia as a key diplomatic priority, saying that former president George W Bush due to his focus on Iraq and Afghanistan had neglected the dynamic region during his two terms in office. (ANI)

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