During my first official visit to Switzerland as Foreign Minister, I met with Swiss President and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter to discuss security issues including the situation in Ukraine and the role of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
I addressed the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in which I called upon the international community to redouble efforts to bring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force and negotiate a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.
The Conference on Disarmament has contributed to a safer and more peaceful world but I expressed my concern at the political paralysis that has prevented it from playing its proper role in international arms control.
I met with a number of Geneva-based international organisations during my visit. I discussed Australia’s participation in the global community’s response to humanitarian crises with the Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Yves Daccord, and highlighted Australia’s proud record of working with countries to improve their disaster preparedness with United Nations Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström.
During my meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, I reiterated Australia’s commitment to remaining one of the top three resettlement countries in the world, and also emphasised Australia’s desire to continue working with the UNHCR to address sexual and gender based violence.
I led a discussion with Australia’s various global health partners including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and underlined the continuing health challenges faced by our neighbours in the Indo Pacific Region.
My engagement this week with a number of multilateral bodies underlines Australia’s commitment to international cooperation and coordination on matters of peace, security and development. The crisis in Ukraine highlights the continuing need for such fora in providing opportunities for negotiation and resolution amongst relevant stakeholders.
I am looking forward to meetings with Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski and Deputy Minister for Defence Mr Robert Kupiecki to discuss the Ukraine crisis and economic and security matters.
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