Australia and United States – an enduring partnership

Media release

Melbourne

6 November 2010

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, and the United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, today released The Melbourne Statement to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and the United States.

"The Melbourne Statement reaffirms the fundamental commitment of both our nations to our enduring partnership and our resolve to continue working closely together to meet the challenges of the 21st century," said Mr Rudd.

Australia and the United States share common interests, but also more deeply, share the bond of common values.

"As a reflection of our common values, today Secretary Clinton and I announced a partnership to address the global problem of violence against women," said Mr Rudd.

Under the partnership, Australia and the United States fully endorsed the establishment of the new global institution, 'UN Women', and the appointment of former Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, to lead it.

Australia will provide A$14.5 million to UN Women over two years from 2011 to support international efforts to empower women and promote equality.

Under the partnership, Australia and the United States also announced a set of initiatives to work together to prevent and respond to violence against women in the Asia Pacific region.

"Without promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls, we will not see real progress towards all the Millennium Development Goals," said Mr Rudd.

Joint efforts between Australia and the United States to address violence against women will complement a broader strategic partnership agreed between AusAID and USAID to work together to reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The AusAID/USAID partnership will focus initially on eliminating violence against women, fighting HIV/AIDs, improving maternal and child health and enhancing food security.

Australia will contribute A$5 million to a US$14.7 million USAID-led health improvement project in East Timor.

"This project is an example of how the Australia and the United States will work together to improve development outcomes in our region," said Mr Rudd.

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