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Quad meeting not going ahead in Sydney: PM

Next week's Quad meeting in Sydney has been cancelled after Joe Biden's Australia trip was scrapped.

Next week's Quad meeting in Sydney has been cancelled after Joe Biden's Australia trip was scrapped. Photo: AAP

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced the Quad leaders’ summit will not be going ahead in Sydney after US President Joe Biden cancelled his planned visit.

The leaders of Australia, the US, Japan, and India were scheduled to meet in Sydney on May 24 for the meeting, with Mr Biden also due to address federal parliament the day before.

But the US president has called off his visit due to negotiations with the US Congress about raising the debt ceiling to avoid an economically catastrophic default, with the deadline looming at the end of the month.

Mr Albanese said the four leaders were attempting to get together in Japan on the sidelines of the G7 summit, which he would be attending as a guest.

“At this stage, we haven’t got a time locked in for that arrangement,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“This is a decision that’s been made overnight, our time, in the United States.

“The Quad leaders meeting will not be going ahead in Sydney next week.”

But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s planned visit to Sydney next week is likely to go ahead.

The prime minister said Mr Biden’s visit to Australia would be postponed, and that he had been invited by the president to the US for a state visit later in the year.

Mr Albanese said the cancellation of Mr Biden’s visit did not downplay the significance of the Quad, which was called off due to the difficulties he is facing in negotiations with the US Congress over the US government debt ceiling.

“President Biden emphasised the importance of the Quad. He was very disappointed at some of the actions, obviously, of some members of Congress and in the US Senate,” he said.

“Obviously, the domestic priority for the president, understandably, is to play a role in resolving those issues.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the president’s cancellation was disappointing but understandable.

“There are domestic issues that the president has to attend to, and he’d be a welcome guest into our country at any time,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“This was going to be an opportunity on a bipartisan basis to welcome him to our country. The AUKUS arrangement is historic.”

– AAP

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