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Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations Joint Communique 2005

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Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer, Australian Minister for Defence Robert Hill, US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and US Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick met in Adelaide on 17-18 November 2005 to discuss global and regional security and the state of the alliance between Australia and the United States. The talks marked the 20th anniversary of AUSMIN consultations and 54 years of strategic partnership under the ANZUS alliance.

Both sides emphatically affirmed the enduring significance and relevance of the alliance and its firm basis in shared values, interests and sacrifice. They welcomed the strengthening of the alliance in recent years, noting closer cooperation in intelligence matters, improvements in joint training and interoperability of their military forces, as well as the emergence of new areas of cooperative endeavour such as missile defence research. They committed to identifying further ways to increase allied interoperability and defence cooperation to aid coalition military operations.

Australia and the United States agreed on a number of new steps to maintain the vitality of their alliance (Annex). They recognised the growing importance of confronting contemporary security challenges, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, global terrorism and pandemic disease. Both sides underlined the continuing importance of their alliance as an anchor of a permanent US security presence in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States' role in promoting security, prosperity and democracy in this part of the world.

Both countries welcomed the coming into force this year of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement, an historic, cuttingĀ­-edge agreement that positively integrates and boosts their respective economies and expands opportunities to face the competitive challenges of the 21 st Century.

Counter-terrorism

Australia and the United States strongly condemned recent terrorist atrocities, including the bombings in London, Bali and Amman. They underlined the continued global threat of terrorism and the vital importance of united international efforts to defeat it using all law enforcement, diplomatic, financial, intelligence and military means. They committed to sustained and coordinated efforts in recognition that the fight against violent extremism will be a long one. Both sides welcomed recent bilateral initiatives, including cooperation on science and technology for homeland/domestic security and on research and development for counter-terrorism.

Both sides reaffirmed the critical importance of supporting the efforts of the region's governments to defeat terrorism in South-East Asia. They agreed to intensify and coordinate closely their respective efforts to assist countries in the region in this endeavour, building on the progress already achieved in working with partners like Indonesia and the Philippines. They emphasised the importance of encouraging governments and institutions that promote tolerance and work to counter extremism.

Regional cooperation

Australia and the United States reaffirmed the importance of a continued strong US presence to maintaining the security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. The United States welcomed Australia's contribution to the stability and security of the Pacific Island countries. Australia reaffirmed its support for proposed changes in the United States' regional force posture and welcomed progress by the United States and Japan in their alliance transformation. Both countries welcomed Japan's increasing contribution to regional security and agreed on the importance of greater trilateral cooperation. They agreed to hold a ministerial meeting of the Trilateral Security Dialogue at an early opportunity.

Australia and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to work with the countries of South-East Asia to enhance the security and prosperity of that region. Australia welcomed the increase in US military assistance to Indonesia. Both countries expressed support for ongoing cooperation in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Nias and Pakistan earthquakes. They reaffirmed APEC's central place in regional architecture and welcomed the broadening of APEC's agenda, including on human security issues such as avian influenza. Australia and the United States reiterated their commitment to work bilaterally, regionally and with the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza to enhance preparedness, strengthen surveillance systems, and cooperate on response and containment of the disease. Both countries agreed to work together on building APEC's agenda for 2007 - Australia's year as chair of the forum - and to cooperate in promoting the further development of the ASEAN Regional Forum as a more vital and effective security institution in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia and the United States encouraged the emergence of an open and prosperous China that is committed to upholding regional and global security and acts as a responsible stakeholder in the rules-based international order. They welcomed China's role in the Six-Party talks on the elimination of North Korean nuclear programs. Both called on China and Taiwan to resolve their differences peacefully through negotiation. Each reaffirmed its commitment to its one-China policy.

Afghanistan

The United States welcomed the deployment of Australia's Special Operations Task Force Group to Afghanistan. Both countries praised Afghanistan's continued progress towards security and democracy and called for the international community to continue and increase its support for Afghanistan.

Iraq

Australia and the United States welcomed the 15 October referendum in Iraq in which the Iraqi people approved their new constitution, and theyexpressed their confidence that the parliamentary elections on 15 December will be another milestone in Iraq's future democratic progress. Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to defeating the terrorists and insurgents in Iraq, who seek to deny the right of the people of Iraq to govern themselves by a democratic political process and to enjoy security and prosperity. Australia and the United States expressed their satisfaction that UN Security Council Resolution 1637 has extended the mandate for the Multi-National Forces in Iraq and reaffirmed the international community's strong commitment to Iraq's democracy, security and economic reconstruction. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the training and development of Iraqi Security Forces and to the ongoing process of transferring security responsibility to the Iraqi Security Forces as conditions allow. Both countries welcomed the close cooperation between Australia and Japan to assist the people of Al Muthanna province. They called on Iran and Syria to halt the transit of terrorists, and the arms and funds that would support terrorists, to and from Iraq.

Non-proliferation

Australia and the United States emphasised the urgent need for practical action to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems to states of proliferation concern and to terrorist groups. They reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate closely under the Proliferation Security Initiative to disrupt illicit trade in WMD and missiles and agreed to encourage more governments in the Asia-Pacific region to support this initiative.

Both countries welcomed the progress achieved in the Six-Party talks and called upon North Korea to take advantage of the opportunity provided by

agreement on the Statement of Principles to put its nuclear past behind it and integrate itself into the international community. The United States welcomed Australia's willingness to support progress in the Six-Party talks, including through energy assistance, safeguards expertise and bilateral development assistance.

Australia and the United States called on Iran to cooperate fully and immediately with the International Atomic Energy Agency and to restore suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activity. Both countries agreed to continue to support EU efforts to persuade Iran to build international confidence with respect to its nuclear program. They agreed to consult on possible action that would intensify and add weight to the EU's efforts.

Australia welcomed the enhanced non-proliferation commitments India made in the context of the 18 July 2005 US-India Joint Statement. Both countries called on India to implement its commitments expeditiously, especially with respect to developing a separation and safeguarding plan for its civil nuclear program that would be credible, transparent and defensible from a non-proliferation standpoint.

Defence relations

Australia and the United States reaffirmed the strength of their defence relationship and its dynamism in meeting new and emerging global security challenges. They welcomed the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Joint Combined Training Centre. Both countries acknowledged the importance of supporting Asia-Pacific and global peace operations capability. They welcomed the extension of the US Global Peace Operations Initiative into the Asia-Pacific and agreed to explore opportunities for partnership in helping build the capacity of regional countries in this area. They also agreed to a program of United States strategic bomber training in Australia as part of their commitment to enhance combined training and exercising.

They discussed respective efforts in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and the potential for further cooperation. Both countries agreed to increase information sharing in support of military and counter-terrorism operations. They welcomed the recent signing of the first Annex to the Memorandum of Understanding on Missile Defence which had been concluded at AUSMIN 2004.

Next AUSMIN meeting

Australia and the United States expressed appreciation to the city of Adelaide and the Government of South Australia for their hospitality and support for AUSMIN 2005.

The United States will host the next AUSMIN meeting in 2006.

Annex - Key Outcomes from AUSMIN 2005

Australia-United States Joint Combined Training Centre Memorandum of Understanding

Enhancing Regional Peace Operations Capability

Strategic Bomber Training Program

It continues a long-standing and mutually beneficial combined training and exercising program.