Laos Summit Brings Australia, PM Gillard Needed Praises

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By Erik Pineda | November 7, 2012 1:47 PM EST

Not only had she generated millions of hits in YouTube, Prime Minister Julia Gillard acknowledged on Wednesday that she also elicited praises from key world leaders who attended the Asia-Europe Summit held in Laos.

Apparently, French President Francois Hollande and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt were entranced with Ms Gillard's fiery speech at the Parliament weeks ago, denouncing her chief opponent. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, as sexist and misogynist.

In an interview with ABC Radio, the prime minister said she picked up "some approval here from some leaders at the Asia-Europe Meeting."

"The President of France congratulated me on the speech, as did the Prime Minister of Denmark and some other leaders just casually as I've moved around have also mentioned it to me," Ms Gillard shared.

Notable of the props up she gained was from Ms Thorning-Schmidt, herself a lady prime minister, according to reports by News Ltd.

Brushing aside the personal concerns, Ms Gillard said the summit produced positive indications that the G20 will shore up efforts to shun protectionism despite prevailing environment of crisis in Europe and some amount of snags in Asia, China particularly.

"There's been much talk of resisting protectionism and not turning our back on the way we can enrich each other through trade and investment exchanges," the prime minister said.

"There's certainly been an endorsement of the G20 agenda and its perspectives and views about ensuring that we maximise global growth," added Ms Gillard.

She also had a one-on-one talk with William Hague, foreign minister for Britain, at the sidelines of the multi-nation conference attended by 50 world leaders, and the two discussed pertinent global issues.

The top-ranking British official had raised concerns on the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, where both Australia and Britain are both actively engaged, and the raging civil war in Syria, which has become a grave source of worries for the international community, Ms Gillard told ABC.

Mr Hague noted too of Australia's increased role in resolving global problems owing the country's triumphant campaign to gain entry in the powerful United Nations Security Council. Canberra's non-permanent tenure begins January 2013 and will run through the end of the following year.

Most notable discussions in the summit, however, is the subject of the economy, in which Australia emerged as the envy of other nations currently grappling with financial downturns.

"Leader after leader that I met during the course of the Asia-Europe meeting is struggling with recession; that is the common story of nations in Europe - that we are a nation that is seeing a big resources boom," Ms Gillard said.

On that note, she consistently pointed to the robust Australian economy, which economists and world alike have praised for successfully fending off threats of recession during the height of the last global financial crisis.

"(And) there are many more opportunities for us during this century of growth and change," Ms Gillard was reported by ABC as saying, obviously referring to the recent blueprint she had earlier unveiled, detailing Australia's road map for the looming Asian Century.

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