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AUSMIN - Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations

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Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations Joint Communique 2006

Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations Joint Communique 2006

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Gordon England, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander
Downer and Australian Minister for Defence Brendan Nelson met in
Washington D.C. on December 12, 2006 to discuss global and regional
security and the state of the alliance between Australia and the
United States.

The talks marked the 21st anniversary of the Australia-United States Ministerial
Consultations (AUSMIN) and 55 years of the alliance.

Future of the Alliance

The United States and Australia agreed that the alliance between
the two countries has never been stronger. They agreed that
the stalwart and immediate response of the alliance to the emerging
threats of the twenty-first century has proven the fundamental
resilience of these ties. They noted that, especially since
September 11, 2001, the alliance has moved from strength to
strength and amply demonstrated its critical importance to both

Working Together For a Safer World

The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to work together
on a wide range of global security issues to meet common security
challenges. They emphasized their shared goal of helping the
people of Iraq create a free, democratic and peaceful country and
maintaining security assistance to Iraq as long as it is needed.
They called on the international community, and in particular
Iraq's neighbors, to provide further assistance to Iraq.

The United States and Australia discussed their continued
efforts to promote stability in a newly-democratic Afghanistan and
to provide continued assistance to the Afghan government and
people. The United States welcomed Australia's
successful cooperation with NATO in operations in

Countering Proliferation

The United States and Australia noted that the world had
condemned North Korea's nuclear test on October 9,
2006. They discussed their shared strategy in responding to
the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea and reaffirmed the need
for all UN Member States to fully implement UNSCR 1718.

Additionally, the two countries agreed that Iran's failure to
comply with international obligations on nuclear activities remains
a grave concern. They agreed to continue their work with
allies, other partners and key international organizations,
including the United Nations, to ensure that Iran complies with its
international obligations and provides full transparency regarding
its nuclear activities. While acknowledging Iran's
right to civil nuclear energy, they noted that without full
transparency and cooperation with the IAEA, the international
community is unable to verify that Iran's nuclear program is
solely for peaceful purposes.

Recognizing the potentially devastating consequences of allowing
nuclear weapons and materials to fall into the hands of terrorists,
the two countries emphasized their commitment to the Global
Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and agreed to continue
efforts to build international support for this initiative through
outreach activities. The United States welcomed
Australia's commitment to outreach in Southeast Asia.
They also agreed to promote the goals of the Proliferation Security
Initiative (PSI) and to further strengthen their cooperation to
interdict the flow of illicit WMD materials.

The two countries agreed that man-portable air defense systems
(MANPADS) in the hands of criminals or terrorists pose a serious
potential threat to commercial aviation and military aircraft
around the world. The United States and Australia will continue to
take concrete steps to counter the emerging MANPADS threat to the
international community, such as through Australia's
multilateral leadership on the issue as chair of APEC and its role
in the Wassenaar Group and the United States' stockpile
security and destruction programs.

Regional Cooperation

The United States and Australia discussed the importance of
continued progress on security and stability in Southeast
Asia. They agreed to continue their efforts to build
partnership capacity in key security areas such as maritime
security, counterterrorism and intelligence sharing, disaster
relief and emergency response, and counter-insurgency and
governance capabilities. They also agreed to continue to work
under the Global Peace Operations Initiative to help build capacity
in the Asia-Pacific.

The United States and Australia welcomed Indonesia's
growing regional role and both countries noted their increasing
engagement with Indonesia. In particular, the United States
welcomed the Australia-Indonesia Agreement on the Framework for
Security Cooperation as a contribution to security in the
Asia-Pacific region. They discussed coordination of their
assistance to regional countries, including Indonesia and the
Philippines, in those countries' efforts to fight terrorism
and meet broader security challenges. They also discussed the
importance of stability, free and fair elections, and
accountability in East Timor. The United States welcomed
Australia's contribution to the stabilization and development of
East Timor. Both countries called for an early return to
democracy in Thailand.

The two countries pledged to continue to work closely with Japan
through the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue on a wide range of issues
and noted their agreement to hold a ministerial meeting in the
first quarter of 2007. The United States welcomed the efforts
of Australia and Japan to develop a closer bilateral security
relationship reflecting Japan's growing role in international
security. They also undertook to explore with Japan areas for
possible trilateral defense cooperation as an early priority.

The United States and Australia expressed their wish to see
China play a growing role as a responsible stakeholder in global
and regional affairs. They welcomed China's enhanced
international engagement, including on the North Korean nuclear

The United States and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to
APEC as the preeminent forum in the Asia-Pacific region, and
pledged to work closely together during Australia's hosting
of APEC in 2007 and beyond in order to strengthen trans-Pacific
regional cooperation and institutions. They agreed to consult
closely on the evolution of regional cooperation in East
Asia. Australia welcomed the United States' continuing
efforts to develop an enhanced partnership with ASEAN.

The two countries expressed concern about continued instability
in the South Pacific, noting the recent civil unrest in Tonga and
continuing concerns about the Solomon Islands. The United
States and Australia strongly condemned the Fiji military's
unconstitutional removal of Prime Minister Qarase. The two
countries called on the military to return the country immediately
to the elected civilian government and to withdraw completely from
politics. They agreed to continue to work together to help
Pacific Island countries build stability, democratic governance and
economic reforms for the benefit of their people. They agreed
to encourage other countries in the region and elsewhere to support
the same objectives.

Defense Cooperation

The United States and Australia reaffirmed the critical
importance of strong bilateral defense relations in advancing their
shared strategic objectives. Their joint experience in Iraq
and Afghanistan has reinforced the vital importance of
interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces. They
agreed to continue to strengthen this interoperability, including
through information sharing, training and exercises, capability
development – involving cooperation in research and
development – as well as acquisition and support of
materiel. They agreed that this extended to strengthening
bilateral defense industry linkages, including through improved

The two countries noted that North Korean and Iranian missile
tests in 2006 and the widening proliferation of ballistic missiles
has reinforced the importance of Missile Defense. They agreed
to intensify cooperation under the bilateral Memorandum of
Understanding on Missile Defense, and committed to further
collaboration in coming years. They welcomed ongoing
bilateral work on exploring options for cooperation in this

The two countries welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of
Understanding on Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development
of the Joint Strike Fighter, noting that an enhanced Australian air
combat capability will benefit the continued effectiveness of the
alliance. The MOU also serves as the framework for future JSF
cooperation between Australia, the United States, and seven other
partner nations. They noted the importance of the Joint
Combined Training Capability as an important element for training
and building on U.S.-Australian interoperability in the
future. They also agreed to intensify cooperation in
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, including in the
context of acquisitions.

Next AUSMIN Meeting

Australia agreed to host the next AUSMIN meeting in 2007.

Last Updated: 24 January 2013
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