Foreign Minister Bob Carr today departs for the United States of America and Europe and to advance Australia's foreign policy agenda in a range of bilateral and multilateral meetings.
Senator Carr will meet key international figures, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and represent Australia at a range of international meetings.
In New York, Senator Carr will also meet the President of the General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser and the head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet.
“I am a strong believer in the United Nations and in the need for Australia to make a real contribution to its work.
“That is why I am visiting New York at the beginning of my term as Foreign Minister to demonstrate my personal commitment and that of the Australian Government to the United Nations,” Senator Carr said.
While in New York, Senator Carr will represent Australia at the United Nation's High Level Thematic Debate on Disaster Risk Reduction.
“Building on my close and long association with the United States, I look forward to meeting Hillary Clinton, other senior Administration figures, as well as Members of Congress, to advance Australia's interests and continue our close engagement with the United States on key regional and global issues,” said Senator Carr.
Senator Carr's European visit will include the UK, Belgium, Malta and Turkey.
In London, Senator Carr will participate in the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting (CMAG) and meet his UK counterparts Mr Hague and Secretary for International Development Andrew Mitchell.
“These meetings in London, with some of our closest international allies, will provide an opportunity to discuss strategic issues of common interest and to take forward decisions from last year's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,” Senator Carr said.
In Brussels, Senator Carr, accompanied by Defence Minister Stephen Smith, will participate in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) meeting on Afghanistan.
“This meeting will help shape important decisions to be taken at the NATO/ISAF Summit in Chicago in May, including on the transition to Afghan security leadership, support for Afghan National Security Forces beyond 2014 and on international engagement post-transition.
“As a core contributor to the ISAF mission, Australia has a significant stake in the success of ISAF's transition strategy," Senator Carr said.
While in Brussels, Senator Carr will also meet the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.
In Istanbul, Senator Carr will take part in the fourth ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI).
“The NPDI is playing an important role in increasing transparency in nuclear disarmament.
“This includes advocating for negotiations to commence on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and promoting stronger nuclear safeguards,” Senator Carr said.
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