Former Aussie PM to visit US as foreign minister

CANBERRA, Australia – Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is to visit the United States within days of being sworn in on Tuesday to his new role as Australia's foreign minister.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who ousted Rudd in an internal government mutiny in June then led her Labor Party to a narrow election victory last month, has fulfilled a promise by including him in a senior role in her Cabinet.
Before the new ministers were to be sworn in on Tuesday, Gillard and Rudd announced in a joint statement that he will visit Washington and New York from Friday through Sept. 25.
"This visit underlines the very high priority that the government places on its relations with the United States, Australia's key strategic partner," the statement said.
Rudd, a former diplomat to Beijing who speaks fluent Mandarin, had endeavored during almost three years as prime minister to elevate Australia's influence in global affairs and lobbied to gain Australia a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.
Rudd will represent Australia at the UN General Assembly while in New York.