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AUSSIES HUNG

Jeffrey Bleich, the U.S. ambassador to Australia, said Tuesday that he watched from “the sidelines” as Australians went to the polls over the weekend and elected their first hung Parliament in nearly 70 years.

As the two leading parties, Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition, try to form a government by recruiting minor-party leaders, Mr. Bleich said, he is optimistic about U.S.-Australian relations regardless of who leads the country.

“What is reassuring about all this is our confidence that regardless of the outcome, the mutual commitment between the United States and Australia will remain strong,” he wrote on his online journal on the embassy’s Web site (canberra.usembassy.gov/).

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.