Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd, Minister for Defence Stephen
Smith, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs William Hague and Secretary of State for Defence Liam
Fox met for the third Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN III)
at HMAS Watson in Sydney on 18 January 2011.
AUKMIN III highlighted the importance and strength of the deep and
longstanding bilateral relationship between Australia and the UK and its
capacity to address contemporary global and regional challenges. AUKMIN
consultations were previously held in the UK in 2006 and 2008.
Australia and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to working with the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to bring security and
stability to Afghanistan.
Australia and the UK are committed to working together to promote global
stability and prosperity and advance common interests related to bilateral
strategic, defence, foreign and intelligence policy matters. The two
countries agreed the G20 will continue to play a vital role in supporting
global prosperity and undertook to continue to work constructively together
toward securing strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth.
Both countries affirmed the value of holding regular AUKMIN consultations
to continue to provide the political leadership and strategic direction
necessary to respond to contemporary global challenges.
Australia and the UK welcomed reinvigoration of the bilateral strategic and
defence relationship in response to the new challenges and threats
generated by the changing international environment. Both countries
acknowledged that Australian and UK foreign, defence and security agencies
needed to continue evolving to respond to contemporary challenges, and
continue advancing our shared strategic interests.
While globalisation and interconnectedness bring new opportunities for
growth and development, both countries recognised that new threats to the
security of their citizens and their interests are also emerging. National
interests are now affected, more than ever before, by events which take
place beyond the borders of our own nations. Australia and the UK
acknowledged the value of cooperating with third countries in assessing and
addressing strategic and security challenges.
Australia and the UK are committed to working together in concrete and
practical ways to shape a more secure environment and advance common
interests with respect to outer space and cyber security.
Intelligence cooperation between Australia and the UK is long-established
and of high value. Exchanges on counter-proliferation and
counter-terrorism are notably important at present, given their
transnational character. Both countries agreed to maintain and build on
the intelligence partnership.
International Security and Stability
Australia and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to ISAF efforts to deny
terrorists safe haven and a base for activity in Afghanistan. They paid
tribute to those Australian and UK personnel who had lost their lives or
were wounded in Afghanistan.
Australia and the UK shared the assessment made in the United States'
recent Afghanistan and Pakistan Annual Review that progress had been made
in Afghanistan, but that continued efforts were essential to maintain
pressure on the insurgency, build the Afghan National Security Forces
(ANSF), and advance governance and development. Australia and the UK
agreed to increase cooperation on stabilisation by sharing expertise,
experience and lessons in stabilisation work on the ground at provincial
and district levels. Both nations also supported the Annual Review's
assessment that terrorist networks in Pakistan's border areas are a threat
to all, especially to Pakistan and to the international community's efforts
in Afghanistan. Australia and the UK concur that both the Afghanistan and
Pakistan challenges should be seen in the wider political and regional
Australia and the UK reaffirmed the importance of their long-term
commitment to Pakistan. Australia and the UK affirmed that their interests
in Pakistan's stability were aligned with Pakistan's own longer-term
interests of stability, security and economic growth. Both countries
highlighted the importance of Pakistan implementing its economic and
political reform agendas.
Australia and the UK reaffirmed the need to continue practical support for
Pakistan's efforts to combat violent extremism. Both countries emphasised
Pakistan's strategic importance and its responsibility to contribute to
regional stability as a partner in international efforts to address
terrorism and militant extremism.
Australia and the UK welcomed the outcomes of the recent NATO/ISAF Leaders'
Summit in Lisbon, particularly the strong support for a conditions-based
transition process starting in early 2011 that would enable the ANSF to
assume responsibility for security by the end of 2014. Both countries
welcomed the Enduring Partnership between NATO and Afghanistan signed at
the Lisbon Summit.
Australia and the UK concurred that enduring civilian efforts to strengthen
governance and advance development were important to building stability in
Afghanistan. Both countries welcomed each other's additional civilian
contributions to Afghanistan since AUKMIN II.
Australia and the UK reinforced their support for the commitments made by
the Afghan Government to combat corruption and strengthen institutions that
provide basic services for the benefit of Afghan citizens.
Australia and the UK highlighted their strong support for a just and
enduring peace in the Middle East based on a negotiated two-state solution
where Israel and a future Palestinian state live side by side in peace and
security. Both countries highlighted the urgent need for Israel and the
Palestinians to return, as a matter of urgency, to direct talks on final
status issues, and to refrain from actions which undermined confidence,
such as settlement construction. Both countries reaffirmed their practical
support for Palestinian institution-building in preparation for statehood.
Australia and the UK reiterated their deep concern over Iran's continuing
failure to comply with UN Security Council (UNSC) and IAEA resolutions on
its nuclear activities, and their commitment to rigorous implementation of
UNSC and autonomous sanctions. They noted that the meeting between the
P5+1 and Iran on 6-7 December 2010 was a positive step and urged Iran to
engage constructively with the P5+1 at talks later this month to remove
doubt about its nuclear intentions. They noted with concern the
deteriorating human rights situation in Iran and called on Iran to meet its
international human rights obligations.
Australia and the UK noted their deep disappointment that Burma's 7
November elections were neither free nor fair. Both countries welcomed the
release of Aung San Suu Kyi on 13 November and called for the immediate
release of the more than 2,200 political prisoners still detained in
Burma. They called on the authorities to begin a process of genuine and
inclusive dialogue with all political and ethnic groups in Burma, including
the National League for Democracy and other political parties that chose
not to, or were not permitted to, contest the elections.
Australia and the UK, while encouraged by the easing of tensions on the
Korean Peninsula over the New Year period, expressed concern about the
DPRK's violent, provocative behaviour in 2010, including the 23 November
artillery attack and revelations about the DPRK's uranium enrichment
program. Australia and the UK called on the DPRK to take concrete steps to
demonstrate its commitment to peace and security on the Peninsula,
including denuclearisation. Both countries agreed that it was essential to
avoid a “proliferation cascade” and to preserve the integrity of
established international non-proliferation norms.
Australia and the UK share a strong interest in stability in Sudan and
urged all parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to respect the
outcome of the referendum on the possible independence of southern Sudan
and to resolve their outstanding differences through negotiation. Both
countries affirmed their continuing commitment to helping Sudan tackle its
development and security challenges.
Australia and the UK agreed on continued cooperation on counter-piracy
efforts off the Horn of Africa. Australia and the UK recognised that
regional states require support and assistance to successfully prosecute
alleged pirates to ensure piracy does not compromise the freedom and
security of the seas. They acknowledged that stabilising the situation in
Somalia was a long-term task central to efforts to reduce piracy in the
Horn of Africa.
Countering Global Threats
The increasingly diffuse nature of the threat from terrorism and the
challenges posed by continuing violent extremism require enhanced
international cooperation in the establishment of new response measures.
Australia and the UK agreed to continue to coordinate responses to
terrorist threats and to maintain close cooperation on proliferation
threats to prevent and deter states and non-state actors from acquiring the
materials and technology for weapons of mass destruction.
Australia and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to continued international
and regional engagement in working with Yemen to find solutions to Yemen's
economic and political challenges, and to ensure that Yemen does not become
a safe haven for terrorist activity.
The UK and Australia agreed that the disruption of Jema'ah Islamiyah (JI)
by Indonesia and Indonesia's commitment to eradicating terrorism were major
achievements. Nevertheless, extremist messages continued to appeal to
some, and extremist groups would continue to pose a threat in South-East
Ministers welcomed the forthcoming signing of a Memorandum of Understanding
concerning National Security and Counter-Terrorism Cooperative Science and
Innovation, and noted the opportunity to address shared national security
capability challenges through collaboration on science and technology
Australia and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to nuclear disarmament and
non-proliferation and to a world free of nuclear weapons.
Both countries pledged to continue to cooperate closely, including in the
context of current Arms Trade Treaty negotiations, to deter and prevent the
illicit transfer of conventional arms to conflict-prone, weak and fragile
states, including in the Pacific.
New Security Challenges
New technologies have brought great opportunities, but also new security
challenges. The Australia-UK security partnership, founded on the
challenges of the last century, has itself adapted and evolved to tackle
emerging security issues in cyber and outer space. Australia and the UK
are committed to working together to shape a more secure environment and
advance common interests on these emerging issues.
Cyber intrusions are an increasing challenge for the security of systems
and networks of national importance. Australia and the UK are already
working closely together to confront the growing threats we face to our
cyber security, and it is vital to our wider, shared security and defence
interests that we do so.
It is the intention of Australia and the UK to use the existing joint work
as the basis for a comprehensive cyber partnership. We are developing a
shared vision for the future security of cyberspace, based on our common
values. We will work together to advance this vision and to contribute to
the development of international norms for cyberspace.
Australia and the UK will coordinate our diplomatic, defence and security
efforts to that end. We will continue to deepen our collaboration across a
range of activities and between the agencies and departments that are
responsible for delivering cyber security.
Australia and the UK welcomed the US decision, reflected in the June 2010
US National Space Policy, to consider practical and verifiable space arms
control measures. Australia and the UK supported the need for space arms
control measures that meet these criteria and agreed that they should be
focused on preventing behaviours that threaten the peaceful use of space by
Australia and the UK also agreed to support the development and
implementation of transparency and confidence building measures for space,
to enhance stability and safety in space activities.
Australia and the UK agreed that an effective response to climate change
underpins our long-term security as well as our prosperity. Recent extreme
weather events around the world, including in Australia, vividly illustrate
the threat we can expect climate change to pose. While individual weather
events can rarely be linked with certainty to climate change, climate
change models tell us that extreme weather events, including floods,
droughts and heat waves, are likely to become more common as the world
Climate change should be considered a key risk to both countries'
economies, societies and environments and its long-term implications should
be considered a fundamental national security challenge.
Both countries welcomed the conclusion of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties in Cancun,
which puts the world on the path towards a legally binding global deal to
tackle climate change under the UN.
Australia and the UK are committed to working closely together to establish
and deliver the new mechanisms, approaches and agreements realised in
Cancun and to help build international consensus to build on the success of
Cancun at COP17 in Durban; and to continue the progress towards a legally
binding climate change deal.
However, action on climate change is urgent and cannot wait for the
signature of an international treaty. The governments of Australia and the
UK are therefore committed to promoting swift action to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions both at home and abroad.
Challenges and Opportunities in Asia-Pacific
The two countries discussed the rise of the economic and strategic
influence of Asia. Australia and the UK expressed a shared goal of
continued strategic engagement with all international partners in support
of a rules-based approach to regional and global governance. Both
expressed their shared national interest in peace and stability, respect
for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and application of the
provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, including in
relation to freedom of navigation. Both countries viewed maritime law
enforcement, particularly protection of fish stocks, as a major security
challenge for the Southwest Pacific. Australia and the United Kingdom
agreed that the expansion of the EAS to include the US and Russia would
contribute to regional security and economic prosperity.
Australia and the UK are committed to seeking a constructive and
cooperative relationship with China on regional economic development and
common security concerns, as well as on addressing global challenges. Both
acknowledged the importance of engaging with China and other partners on
good governance and sustainable economic development in the Pacific region.
Australia and the United Kingdom confirmed their support for steps that
would hasten the restoration of democratic institutions and the rule of law
in Fiji. Both countries emphasised that the commencement of genuine,
inclusive political dialogue in Fiji, without preconditions or
predetermined outcomes, as called for by Leaders at the Pacific Islands
Forum, is a necessary first step. They deplored the continuation of the
Public Emergency Regulations and their negative impact on human rights in
The two countries reiterated their commitment to the Five Power Defence
Arrangements (FPDA) as a vehicle of practical cooperation and stability in
South East Asia. Australia and the UK agreed that a key strength of the
FPDA is the ability of the Arrangements to remain relevant to the needs of
its members and the strategic circumstances. Both countries undertook to
remain engaged in FPDA exercises, within the limitations of their
resources, and looked forward to the outcomes of the FPDA Stocktake which
will be finalised by the 40th Anniversary of the Arrangements on 1 November
Aid and Development
Australia and the UK both recognise the explicit links between national
security, poverty reduction and development. Both countries are committed
to significant increases in development assistance and to working together
to ensure this leads to strong outcomes for developing countries, including
progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
The Partnership Agreement continues to underpin the close collaboration
between AusAID and DFID. Examples include in Pakistan on health, education
and the promotion of economic reform and towards post-flood recovery and
reconstruction; in Africa on water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS and maternal
and child health; in Afghanistan on stabilisation, reconstruction and
development; and in Indonesia on climate change.
Australia and the UK reaffirmed their support for free trade and for
working together to strengthen the healthy bilateral trade and investment
relationship. Both sides recognise that trade can help build prosperity;
increase jobs and drive competition and innovation. Both countries also
recognise the need to work together to prevent the risk of protectionism
damaging the global economic recovery.
Australia and the UK reaffirm their support for the conclusion of the Doha
Development Round and for an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced package.
Both sides recognise that 2011 is a critical window of opportunity for
completing the endgame and that the engagement between trade negotiators
must intensify and expand. Both countries recognise that the gains from
trade liberalisation as well as the insurance against protectionism that
the Doha Development Round can deliver are significant and will greatly
benefit developing countries.
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
Australia and the UK are looking forward to the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting to be held in Perth on 28-30 October. Both countries
see it as an opportunity to reinvigorate engagement on democracy,
development and human rights reaffirming the Commonwealth as a force for
good in world affairs.
The countries discussed the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen and
Head of the Commonwealth in 2012, reflecting on 60 years of steadfast
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