Australia rules out Quad summit going ahead in Sydney without Biden, but Modi still plans visit

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has ruled out a Quad summit taking place in Sydney without President Joe Biden, saying the four leaders will talk at the Group of Seven meeting this weekend in Japan.

Albanese said Wednesday he understands why Biden pulled out of the summit to focus on debt limit talks in Washington since they are crucial to the economy. The summit including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had been scheduled for May 24.

“The blocking and the disruption that’s occurring in domestic politics in the United States, with the debt ceiling issue, means that, because that has to be solved prior to 1st June — otherwise there are quite drastic consequences for the U.S. economy, which will flow on to the global economy — he understandably has had to make that decision,” Albanese told reporters.

Biden “expressed very much his disappointment” at being unable to come to the Sydney summit and to the national capital Canberra a day earlier to address Parliament, Albanese said.

The four leaders will soon be together in Hiroshima, Japan, for the Group of Seven summit and are planning to meet there, he said.

“The Quad is an important body and we want to make sure that it occurs at leadership level and we’ll be having that discussion over the weekend,” Albanese said.

He said Modi will visit Sydney next week, noting the Indian leader was scheduled to give an address to the Indian diaspora at a sold-out 20,000-seat stadium on Tuesday. But Kishida will not visit.

“Prime Minister Modi will be here next week for a bilateral meeting with myself. He will also have business meetings, he’ll hold a very public event … in Sydney,” Albanese told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“I look forward to welcoming him to Sydney,” Albanese said. “Prime Minister Kishida of Japan was just coming for the Quad meeting. There wasn’t a separate bilateral program.”

Albanese said it was “disappointing” that Biden decided he could not come.

“The decision of President Biden meant that you can’t have a Quad leaders’ meeting when there are only three out of the four there,” Albanese said.

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