Washington: President Barack Obama on Thursday
congratulated Julia Gillard on becoming the first woman Prime
Minister of Australia, even as he praised her predecessor
Kevin Rudd as a "great friend" of United States.
The US and Australia enjoy a special and productive
relationship and alliance that will continue to prosper under
her leadership, the White House said in a statement.
Obama looks forward to work with Prime Minister
Gillard across the broad range of issues on which the US and
Australia currently enjoy strong and deep cooperation and
looks forward to speaking with her soon, it said.
"The President also wishes to extend his thanks and
best wishes to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who remains a
great friend of America," the White House said.