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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 616-12
July 23, 2012

Readout of Secretary Panetta’s Telephone Conversation with Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith

            Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little provided the following readout:

            “Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith talked by phone this evening.  Their conversation covered a range of defense issues, including the successful rotation of U.S. Marines to Darwin.  Panetta noted the key role that the Australian Defence Force plays in providing security in the Asia-Pacific region and in supporting stability in Afghanistan.  With an eye toward the future, Panetta expressed great confidence in the U.S.-Australian partnership, reaffirming that the United States has no closer ally than Australia.  Finally, Panetta noted how much he looks forward to visiting Perth for the AUSMIN ministerial meetings in fall 2012.”