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WikiLeaks: Australia FM blames US

Press Trust Of India
Dec 08, 2010 at 05:51pm IST

Melbourne: Australia's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday blamed the United States, not the Australian founder of WikiLeaks, for the unauthorised leak of some 250,000 secret US diplomatic cables - some of which reflected badly on him.

Rudd said those who originally leaked the documents were legally liable and that the leaks raised questions over the "adequacy" of US security over the cables.

"Mr (Julian) Assange is not himself responsible for the unauthorised release of 250,000 documents from the US diplomatic communications network," Rudd said. "The Americans are responsible for that," he said.

WikiLeaks: Australia FM blames US, not Assange

Messages sent by the US embassy in Canberra and obtained by WikiLeaks show US viewed Rudd as a "control freak".

Rudd had also said that Australia was providing consular support to Assanage, 39, who was arrested in London on Tuesday on allegations of sexual assaults in Sweden.

"I'm the foreign minister of Australia, responsible for the consular well-being of all Australians and therefore I just want to make it absolutely clear that first of all Assange has contacted the Australian consul-general in London and asked for consular support," Rudd said.

Assange had earlier accused the Australian government of "disgraceful pandering" to the US.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard had earlier called Assange's release of the cables "grossly irresponsible".

Rudd, a former Australian Prime Minister had earlier shrugged off claims he is an abrasive, impulsive "control freak".

He said the criticism of him in US diplomatic cables being a "control freak" was like "water off a duck's back".

"I don't, frankly, give a damn about this sort of thing. You just get on with it," he was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.

Meanwhile, Gillard also defended Rudd, the man she toppled to take leadership of the country, saying he was doing a "fantastic job" in foreign affairs.

"Kevin Rudd is a man who throughout his adult life has devoted himself to expertise in foreign policy," she said.

"He's bringing that expertise to bear for the Australian nation and doing an absolutely first-class job."

Detailed messages, sent by the US embassy in Canberra over several years and obtained by WikiLeaks, show US officials viewed Rudd as a "control freak" while he was prime minister.

US officials criticised his foreign relations performance for being focused on media-driven photo opportunities and for making snap announcements without consulting other countries.

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