A diplomatic rift between Malaysia and Australia has been healed after talks between the countries' foreign ministers. The Malaysian Foreign Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said he was happy with the state of bilateral relations after talks yesterday in Kuala Lumpur with his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer. He said there were 'more areas of commonality' than differences between the two countries. 'We look forward to expanding this co-operation,' Mr Badawi said. 'I think there are more opportunities for us to co-operate in the future.' Mr Downer said the visit, his first as Foreign Minister of Australia's new Government, reflected Canberra's top foreign policy priority of engagement with Asia and, in particular, strengthening its relationship with Malaysia. Ties between Kuala Lumpur and Canberra reached a low ebb under the previous Labor government when prime minister Paul Keating offended Malaysians by calling their Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, recalcitrant for not attending the first Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit. Mr Downer said Malaysia was supporting Australia's United Nations Security Council candidacy and Canberra would reciprocate by supporting Malaysia's bid in 1999. Earlier, Mr Downer avoided controversial issues in a 20-minute meeting with Dr Mahathir. The Foreign Minister said they did not discuss the East Asia Economic Caucus, the Malaysian initiative towards which the previous Australian government was at best lukewarm. He said their talk rather centred on the many areas where they had common interests. Dr Mahathir fitted in the meeting before the regular 9 am Cabinet session, after which he left for Sarawak, which is due to hold a state election shortly. 'We're obviously very committed to developing the relationship with Malaysia and I very much appreciate the fact that Dr Mahathir made available 15 or 20 minutes for us to get together,' Mr Downer said.