Barack Obama photo

Remarks Following a Meeting With Prime Minister Malcolm B. Turnbull of Australia in Lima, Peru

November 20, 2016

President Obama. It's a great pleasure to have the opportunity to have a final meeting with my friend and colleague, Prime Minister Turnbull, and his delegation. Australia, obviously, is one of our strongest friends and allies. It is a friendship based on shared values, on extraordinarily close people-to-people ties, on shared economic interests, and a shared worldview.

And this brief visit gave us an opportunity to exchange thoughts on how we move forward on a whole range of important issues. The Prime Minister had already reached out to President-elect Trump and his team. And I indicated to him my confidence that the U.S.-Australia alliance will remain as robust as ever, because it transcends party politics.

We had a chance to discuss the counter-ISIL campaign. Australia has been our most stalwart ally when it comes to troop deployments and the effort there. The progress that's being made in Iraq as Iraqi forces seek to retake Mosul, the training of Iraqi troops, making sure that we are prepared for any humanitarian aftermath of that campaign—much of that success can be attributed to the enormous contributions that are made by the Australian Government. And we're grateful not only to the Government, but most importantly to the men and women in uniform who serve.

We also had an opportunity to discuss some of the regional issues around the Asia-Pacific that had been of great interest to my administration as we have rebalanced and focused on the Asia-Pacific region more than had been focused on in the past. And we are aligned in our views that upholding open markets, promoting high-standard trade agreements like TPP, ensuring rule of law and international norms on issues like maritime disputes serve not only the interests of Australia and the United States, but also serve the interests of the region and the world.

And as a consequence, it's not often where I have a meeting and I've got nothing to disagree with. [Laughter] Usually, there's something we can talk about to keep us busy. But there's a strong alignment of interests between the United States and Australia. And not only do I wish the Prime Minister luck as he moves forward, but I've assured him that we're going to do everything we can to have a strong handoff and continuity in the new administration so that we can continue to work together to promote prosperity for our people and security for our people.

So thank you so much, Malcolm.

Prime Minister Turnbull. Well, thank you very much, Mr. President. And it is a great moment, but a sad moment, to have our last meeting with you in your capacity as President of the United States. I want to thank you for the leadership you've shown to your country and the world over 8 years.

Our alliance has got stronger than ever, and that has been because it's based on those shared values, shared values made manifest by our commitment around the world to work together in freedom's cause, in the Middle East. And I thank you for the compliments you've paid our service men and women in the Middle East. We're working together there to retake Mosul, to bring an end to Daesh and its so-called caliphate, and to fight terrorism around the world. We're standing up for the rule of law around the world. And those understanding that the foundation of the prosperity that the world has enjoyed, the rise—the lifting of billions of people out of poverty has been made possible by that foundation of a rules-based international order underpinned by the commitment of the United States over so many years and especially over the last years during your Presidency.

I want to thank you very much for your cooperation with us on so many issues: on humanitarian issues and resettlement issues in our own region. Thank you for that.

And on trade, we are quite of the same mind of the importance of open markets, the way trade and increasing the opportunities for businesses to grow and develop, whether it's in Warrnambool or Wyoming—[laugher]—it benefits across the world. And we've agreed—as we have with the other leaders here—the importance of making the case for open markets repeatedly and more persuasively now than ever.

I've been very impressed, Mr. President, by the way in which despite your party's disappointment with the election result in the United States, the way you've set out to reach out to the President-elect and, as we all do, wish him the best of success. We want America to succeed under the new President, just as it succeeded under your leadership. And your statesmanship and generosity sets a great example, which all of us admire.

So thank you very much for the great leadership you've shown, for the friendship you've shown. Australians and Americans are bound by shared values, as you've described. But above all, it's bound together by millions—literally millions—of people-to-people links and friendships and alliances with a large "A," between nations and many, many alliances between businesses and families across the years.

So our relationship will get stronger than ever, but it has been immeasurably strengthened under your leadership, and we thank you for it.

President Obama. Thank you, Malcolm. Thank you. You too. It means a lot.

Prime Minister Turnbull. Thank you.

President Obama. Good. Thank you, everybody.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:23 p.m. in the Ichima I room at the Lima Convention Centre. In his remarks, he referred to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist organization, also known as Daesh.

Barack Obama, Remarks Following a Meeting With Prime Minister Malcolm B. Turnbull of Australia in Lima, Peru Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives