Sunrise, interview with David Koch

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST: Julie Bishop, thank you for joining us. Donald Trump was being disrespectful to the Prime Minister and Australia in the past. How were the talks today? Did they smooth over relations?

JULIE BISHOP: It is very clear from my meetings that there is considerable goodwill towards Australia and I had very constructive meetings with both Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. We discussed many ways that Australia and the United States can work together to meet challenges and opportunities, and we had long discussions in some detail about our shared interests.

JOURNALIST: Okay. Let's look at a couple of those shared interests. When will the US start taking asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru, and will this involve a refugee swap from Costa Rica? Refugees from Costa Rica?

JULIE BISHOP: No, it is not a refugee swap, and Peter Dutton clarified that today. I understand it is a completely separate matter, and officials are working on it now. The agreement is progressing.

JOURNALIST: Okay, short and sweet answer there. In your meetings with the Vice President and the Secretary of State, did they outline their plans to defeat Islamic State? Donald Trump, in a tweet, said he had the secret ingredient to defeat Islamic State. He was keeping his cards close to his chest on how exactly to do that. Did they expand on that and will that involve a greater role from Australia?

JULIE BISHOP: There is a review underway being carried out by their Secretary of Defence Mattis and we expect that the review will be completed in the next week or so. Because there is a review underway, I took the opportunity to give our thoughts, our ideas, our perspectives because we have been involved in the fight against ISIS for some time now and have had our Defence personnel in both Iraq and operating in Syria., and so I took the opportunity to give our perspective so we have some input into the review and I expect those discussions will continue.

JOURNALIST: Was your perspective about a greater role that we can play in that? What did you recommend to them?

JULIE BISHOP: Well, I am not going to reveal the strategies that we have suggested to the United States because that would be unwise but I certainly took the opportunity to pass on our experience over the last couple of years, our ideas on how we can defeat ISIS more quickly and also the necessity for a political solution in Syria. It is not just a military outcome, a political solution will be needed because there is a civil war going on in Syria. I passed on our perspectives and I hope they will be taken into account. They certainly seemed very interested in what I had to say and the fact that we have been involved as a major contributor to the fight against ISIS for some years now.

JOURNALIST: Alright Julie Bishop, thank you for joining us, we might leave it there. Safe travels back home.

- Ends -

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