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Morrison to meet Biden, other national leaders

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison to meet US President Joe Biden to discuss Indo-Pac relations. Photos: Reuters, ABC News/Luke Stephenson
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison will meet the leaders of the US, India and Japan in Washington DC to discuss regional security and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Morrison and US President Joe Biden discussed the meeting of the so-called “quad” in a phone call on Friday.

Mr Morrison and Mr Biden had planned to meet in person to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ANZUS treaty this week, but the pandemic made it impossible.

The quad is a grouping of the US, Australia, India and Japan.

Mr Morrison said the meeting would be held in Washington DC at a date to be set.

“It demonstrates a very strong focus from the United States on the Indo-Pacific region,” he said in Canberra.

He said the meeting would canvass a broad range of issues, including defence and security, the COVID vaccination program, economic development and critical supply chains.

“The quad’s agenda is incredibly important for the security of the Indo-Pacific.”

A White House statement said Mr Biden and Mr Morrison had celebrated the 70th anniversary of the US alliance with Australia.

“The President expressed appreciation for the close co-ordination with Australia on Afghanistan.”

Mr Morrison said during the “warm chat” with Mr Biden they had discussed the next steps on Afghanistan.

“The next stage of course with Afghanistan is the humanitarian effort and for us to be able to take people through official humanitarian channels,” he said.

“We discussed how we can be working together to … provide people with that opportunity to take up that humanitarian pathway.”

Mr Morrison expressed Australia’s deep appreciation of US support for the evacuation operations at Kabul, and passed on condolences for the 13 US soldiers killed in Kabul.

He also conveyed Australia’s sympathies for the impact of Hurricane Ida and the New York floods.

-AAP