Doorstop - Sydney Cenotaph

  • Transcript, E&OE

JULIE BISHOP: Earlier this morning, I joined with others here at Martin Place to commemorate Anzac Day, and we join with thousands and thousands of people across this nation and around the world in paying respect to those who served our nation in the cause of freedom. Today, we not only remember those from the First World War, the 100th anniversary in 2018, but all those who have served in subsequent wars and conflicts. It is a very special day in the hearts of Australians and we honour the memory of those who have served this nation

JOURNALIST: Can you confirm Harry Harris won't be the next US Ambassador to Australia?

JULIE BISHOP: I was contacted by the Acting-Secretary of State, John Sullivan, yesterday morning, and he informed me that Ambassador Harris was to be reassigned to an another diplomatic post, and so his nomination process will not be going ahead this week. While we would have welcomed Admiral Harris here as ambassador to Australia, we understand that there are significant challenges for the United States on the Korean Peninsula, and my understanding is that he will be reassigned to other duties.

JOURNALIST: Will he be assigned to South Korea?

JULIE BISHOP: That's a matter for the United States Administration to confirm, but we understand that he will be required in another post. This is not unusual, it has happened before, but we look forward to a new ambassador being nominated as soon as possible. I understand that when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is confirmed - as we assume he will be over the next few days - then the appointment of an ambassador to Australia will be a priority.

JOURNALIST: Is the Australian Government offended at all with this shift and the fact that it was announced on Anzac Day?

JULIE BISHOP: No, it was announced, in fact, yesterday. I was contacted yesterday, about 6.15am in the morning, and Acting-Secretary of State John Sullivan confirmed that the White House Administration had decided to reassign Admiral Harris to another post. We understand this sort of thing happens, and we also understand the challenges the United States has on the Korean Peninsula. We, of course, have a very strong and deep relationship with the United States, and I'm sure that they will choose a very appropriate ambassador to take his place in due course.

JOURNALIST: When you spoke to Harry Harris, what else did you speak about in that conversation?

JULIE BISHOP: I didn't speak to Admiral Harris. I spoke to Acting-Secretary of State John Sullivan, and he informed me of the decision of the White House Administration to reassign Admiral Harris to another post.

JOURNALIST: Was there any indication of when you will find out who will be our next US Ambassador?

JULIE BISHOP: Certainly, Acting-Secretary Sullivan said that it would be a priority for new Secretary of State, and based on the assumption that he is confirmed by the Senate this week, I hope to have a conversation with Mike Pompeo as soon as possible. There have been other periods in the past when it has taken quite some time for a US ambassador to be appointed, so that's not unusual. In the meantime, the Acting-Ambassador Jim Carouso will continue in the role.

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