Prime Minister Anthony Albanese received a warm welcome as he met US President Joe Biden at the White House, with both leaders announcing a “new era” of strategic alliance between the two countries.

A crowd of about 4000 people attended a flash opening ceremony for Mr Albanese on Wednesday. He was greeted by a marching band and a 19-gun salute.

Mr Albanese used his speech to stress the importance of Australia’s ties with the US and affirmed his goal to keep the Indo-Pacific region “free, open, prosperous and secure”.

“The relationship between Australia and the United States has never been more important – and, of course, it has never been stronger than it is right now,” he said.

“Our efforts through AUKUS are one of the many ways we are working together to deter aggression and support a free and open Indo-Pacific that is secure and stable.”

Following a day of formal talks at the White House, Mr Albanese said he was confident critical AUKUS legislation would eventually pass through.

The nuclear pact hit a set of unexpected roadblocks in US House, starting with disagreements among senior members of congress over whether Australia’s $3bn stake in the deal would be enough to support its own military ambitions.

Under the agreement, Australia will buy at least three Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines from the US before eventually producing its own.

“I’m very confident in the discussions that I’ve had with Democrats and Republicans that there is very broad support for the AUKUS arrangements, and that there will be support for the legislation going forward,” Mr Albanese said on Wednesday.

Speaking on the unfolding crisis in the Middle East, both Mr Albanese and Mr Biden said they would continue to support Israel “in the wake of Hamas’s appalling terrorist attack”.

“Mr President – we applaud the personal resolve you have brought to this troubled part of the world,” Mr Albanese said

“You have spoken with moral clarity – and you have stood up for a simple principle. The principle is that every innocent life matters, Israeli and Palestinian.”

Following concerns the war in Israel would deter focus from security risks in the Indo-Pacific, the leaders also unveiled new initiatives that included undersea cables providing high-speed internet to the Pacific Islands and new trilateral military co-operation with Japan.

Mr Albanese’s four-day visit to Washington DC will conclude with a lavish black-tie dinner hosted by US First Lady Jill Biden.

Read related topics:Anthony AlbaneseJoe Biden


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