Australia and the UK have reaffirmed the importance of our close partnership on a range of security and foreign policy issues at the seventh annual Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN), in Sydney.
Our agenda focused on the Middle East, including responding to the growing threat of Daesh – also known as ISIL – and foreign fighters, Afghanistan, the evolving security situation in East Asia, and defence planning and interoperability. Our dialogue on these issues reinforced the value of the strong co-operation between our countries.
We agreed to continue our close cooperation on counter-terrorism, including in the Asia Pacific region, in line with our commitment to work together to reduce the risks posed by international terrorism and foreign fighters. We also undertook to continue our consultations on the Australian Defence White Paper and the UK Strategic Defence and Security Review and to continue to confer on strategic issues that appear on the UN Security Council agenda, building on Australia’s successful two-year term on the Council.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond signed a memorandum of understanding on the reciprocal use of diplomatic facilities at times of crisis. The agreement formalises the current practice whereby officials use the other country’s diplomatic facilities during a major crisis or incident in locations where one of us has a diplomatic mission and the other does not. This builds on cooperation after the MH17 tragedy.
Australia’s Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews, and UK Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, discussed opportunities to improve interoperability between our armed forces, for further cooperation on the Joint Strike Fighter, and for dialogue surrounding maritime capability and emerging defence technologies.
Australia and the UK have an enduring strategic partnership and are committed to working together to promote our shared agenda of enhancing security and prosperity in an increasingly challenging global environment.