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Rudd In EU: The Economy; Security Talks; The Asia-Pacific; Remembering World War I …

  • January 20th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

rudd-abc.jpgThe Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, has begun a one-week tour in Europe taking in consultations in Brussels on the economic situation, security talks in London and a new bilateral agreement in France, signed on Friday (20.1.12).

NEW AGREEMENT WITH FRANCE INCLUDES PACIFIC, AND THE WESTERN FRONT

An agreement signed in Paris with the French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, raised the status of the relationship between the two countries to that of a strategic partnership.

COLLABORATING ON EVERYTHING
It set out steps for extended collaboration in the fields of politics, defence and security, economic cooperation, energy and resources; transport; education, science, technology and culture; environmental and climate issues; and international development cooperation.

Additional categories were reserved for cooperation in the Pacific and Indian Oceans; and cooperation on shared memory of the First World War.

On defence, the Ministers noted a long history of allied operations since the First World War, during the present era in the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and Afghanistan.

They’ve committed to stepped-up consultations, especially relating to the Asia-Pacific region; promotion of long-term strategic cooperation in the Pacific, together with New Zealand and the United States; and collaboration on development of materiel.

See text of the agreement: http://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2012/kr_mr_120118a.html, (20.1.12).

FLANDERS FIELDS

fromelles-diggers-2.jpegRemembering the battles on French soil during World War I, they said “in order to best commemorate the centenary of the First World War the two Governments will prepare jointly a program of commemorative events, and  … update the Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and France on Cooperation in the Field of the Shared History of the World Wars of the Twentieth Century, signed on 14.11.03.”

ANZAC Day commemorations i n particular have seen increased numbers of Australians turning out at the Australian memorial, at Villers-Bretonneux, and also at Ypres, in Belgium, commemorating the battle at Passchendaele.  See EUAustralia Online: “11.11.11.11”, 14.11.11; “Australia Remembers: 90 years ago”, 10.11.08; “Bitter memory”, 7.2.08.

ASIA-PACIFIC

On cooperation in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the agreement said the two governments would be “promoting peace, stability and prosperity, and support the growing integration of French territories into their regional environment.”

They would emphasise regional programs, and increase joint work in support of “sustainable development, promotion of human rights and democratic governance, economic development, the sustainable management of ocean resources and action in the event of natural disasters (FRANZ arrangement).”

Further action:-  “ Continue actively to counter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and to promote responsible and sustainable management of fish stocks, including through cooperation on air and sea surveillance and through regional fisheries management organisations.”

The handshake on integrating French territories in the Pacific into regional business starkly contrasts with the tense relations 25 years ago, when the then French government was continuing nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll, and running a tough campaign to suppress a Kanak separatist movement in New Caledonia.

GERMANY, BRUSSELS AND THE UK

In Germany, Mr Rudd will meet the Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, to launch commemorations of the 60th anniversary of Australian-German diplomatic relations.

In Brussels, he will be at NATO headquarters to address the North Atlantic Council, on security challenges in Asia, and Australian readings of the partnership with the NATO alliance – currently being carried out through Australia’s military commitment in Afghanistan.

nelson_brendan-reduced1.jpgHis visit coincides with the appointment of Dr Brendan Nelson (picture) , Ambassador to the EU, as Australia’s first ambassador to NATO. See EUAustralia Online, “Australian Envoy: fixing relations with NATO”, 13.4.11.

The Foreign Minister will also visit the European Commission for discussions on the economic and financial crisis in Europe.

In London, he will take part in Australia-UK Ministerial consultations, being described by officials as a centre piece of his itinerary, recognising the relationship with the United Kingdom as a key security partner. See EUAustralia Online, “Brits minding relations in the Asia-pacific”, 19.1.11.

He will go on to the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland (25-29.1.12), to be focused on impacts for the global economy of the “Eurozone” crisis over debt and encroaching recession in Europe.

The annual Davos event brings together some 2500 leaders in business, government and the economics professions, with this time 40 senior figures from governments and 1,600 business executives expected to attend.


Reference

Australian Government, “Foreign Minister to visit Europe for AUKMIN consultations” (media release), Brisbane, 18.1.12. http://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2012/kr_mr_120118a.html, (20.1.12).

Australian Government, Canberra, “Joint statement of strategic partnership between Australia and France”, 20.1.12. http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/france/joint_statement.html, (20.1.12).

European Union delegation to Australia, Canberra, “Foreign Minister Rudd in Europe”, 20.1.12. http://www.delaus.ec.europa.eu/, (20.1.12).

World Ecomomic Forum (home), Geneva, “World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012,  Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. http://www.weforum.org/, (20.1.12).

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