Tony Abbott to miss meeting with Barack Obama

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will miss meeting with Barack Obama next week after the US president pulled out of two key Asian summits.

Mr Obama has cancelled his trip to the back-to-back APEC and East Asia Summit due to the continuing government shutdown that began when Republicans refused to pass the federal budget.

Secretary of State John Kenny will replace him at both events in Bali and Brunei.

The announcement comes as the Prime Minister prepares to travel to Bali on Sunday for the APEC conference following meetings with president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta earlier this week.

Mr Abbott yesterday flagged a close relationship with Mr Yudhoyono, who he said had accepted him as John Howard’s political son and heir.

“I was able to bask in John Howard’s glory, so to speak,” he said.

Mr Abbott said he had met Mr Yudhoyono several times in Opposition and he was always a gracious man.

He was “even more gracious now” as the pair made a strong commitment to the other to do what it could to fight people smuggling, he said.

“I have to say that I think I’m lucky because John Howard and President Yudhoyono had a very strong relationship and I think the president decided that I was kind of John Howard’s political son and heir and therefore I was okay,” he told Triple M.

Following Bali, Mr Abbott will travel to Brunei for the East Asia Summit.

But before both forums, Mr Abbott will host Prince Harry at Kirribilli House on Saturday as the British royal visits Australia for the International Fleet Review in Sydney.

“I have no doubt that as a British army officer Prince Harry will be the very soul of good behaviour,” he said, following suggestions his two daughters may attract the eligible bachelor’s eye.

“He’ll be an officer and a gentleman.”


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