Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will today travel to Bali to attend the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Conference and the 18th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
“Australia is committed to deep engagement with the region and strengthened regional institutions that advance Australia’s security and economic interests,” Mr Rudd said.
Mr Rudd will discuss practical ways to strengthen the EAS and take forward a number of priorities, including improved regional mechanisms to help manage natural disasters and the development of an EAS security agenda.
“We cannot take security in the Asia Pacific for granted, and we currently do not have strong regional mechanisms to resolve frictions through discussion and negotiation," Mr Rudd said.
“Australia has worked hard with others in East Asia to develop the right architecture for the region. The decision last year to include the US and Russia in the East Asia Summit was a major step forward towards the regional architecture we have been seeking.
“This year is critical in cementing the East Asia Summit as the premier institution to cooperate on the full range of political, security and economic challenges confronting the region."
Mr Rudd will then travel to Kenya to witness first-hand the devastating effects of the drought crippling the Horn of Africa.
He will hear directly from UN agencies and NGOs on the ground on how Australia’s assistance is being delivered to save lives, and underline the importance of a coordinated global response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
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