Obama to Visit Australia in Mid-November

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By Vittorio Hernandez | September 13, 2011 9:33 AM EST

U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Australia on November 16 and 17, the White House announced on Tuesday.

He is coming upon the invitation of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Australia-U.S. alliance in recognition that the ANZUS alliance had a critical role in providing security to the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Obama's November trip includes the American president hosting the Asia Pacific Cooperation forum in Hawaii and attending the East Asia summit in Bali, Indonesia.

The president initially planned to visit Australia in 2010, but he canceled twice because he had to lobby for his health care overhaul and to oversee the Gulf of Mexico oil spill problem.

"Australia is one of the United States' closest allies and our troops have served together bravely in Afghanistan and conflict zones throughout the world," the White House said in a statement.

"The President looks forward to consulting closely with the Prime Minister on global and regional issues in preparation for the East Asia Summit to be held later that week in Bali, Indonesia."

His visit will coincide with the holding of the President's Cup golf tournament in Melbourne where a U.S. team will participate. It is not clear if Mr Obama's schedule would allow the president, a golfer, to attend the event.

In March, during Ms Gillard's visit to the White House, she had the chance to play a kick to kick game using Australian football rules in the Oval Office. She also addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress and visited a school in the Washington area together with Mr Obama.

The American president's visit is seen as a vote of confidence in Ms Gillard, whose approval rating recently dropped to a record low of 32 per cent.

In March, when Mr Obama was asked by Australian media about a future trip to the country, the president recalled he had pleasant memories when he visited Australia with his mother when he was an eight-year-old boy. 

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