Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she is cutting short an extended trip to the Asia-Pacific region to deal with the earthquake crisis in Haiti, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates called off a planned trip to Australia where he and Clinton were to attend an annual summit, AP reported.
Clinton told reporters in Hawaii on Wednesday that she would return to Washington to help oversee U.S. relief efforts instead of continuing on to Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand as she had planned. President Barack Obama has directed his administration to provide all aid necessary to assist in relief efforts.
Clinton had not been due to return to the U.S. until next week.
In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Gates has postponed the Australia visit next week so he and Clinton "can continue to work on the crisis in Haiti."
The joint meetings with Australian leaders will be rescheduled, Morrell said. The session was to take place in Canberra.