8 November 2010
Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met in Melbourne on 8 November 2010 for the annual Australia–US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN).
The talks marked the 25th anniversary of AUSMIN and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The 2010 AUSMIN confirmed the enduring value of the Australia–US Alliance and its adaptability in meeting contemporary and evolving strategic challenges.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed their shared commitment to the international effort in Afghanistan.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed that strengthened architecture in the Asia–Pacific region is fundamental to security and economic prosperity. Both countries welcomed the expansion of the East Asia Summit (EAS), to include the participation of the United States from 2011. The United States welcomed Australia's leading role as an advocate for strengthened regional institutions, and for a more significant role for the EAS.
Recognising that strong cooperative mechanisms in the Asia–Pacific region are fundamental to global stability and prosperity, Australia and the United States pledged to collaborate further on regional security matters, including through bilateral consultations on the US Global Force Posture Review and by enhancing their bilateral dialogue on East Asia.
Australia and the United States are committed to working together to help shape international norms to advance vital shared interests in the domains of sea, airspace and outer space as well as to advance important matters related to cybersecurity.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed their shared commitment to the international effort in Afghanistan to prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for terrorists and violent extremists.
They honoured the sacrifices of Australian and US military forces in Afghanistan. Australia and the United States endorsed the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) strategy and underlined the importance of endorsing a credible, conditions-based transition plan at the NATO / ISAF Leaders' Summit in Lisbon in November that would enable the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to progressively assume responsibility for security in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Australia and the United States welcomed each other's additional civilian and military contributions for Afghanistan since the last AUSMIN. Both countries appreciated their close cooperation through Combined Team Uruzgan to build a stronger security environment in Uruzgan Province.
Both countries affirmed the importance of close cooperation to decrease the threat to our military forces from Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs).
Both countries reaffirmed their support for concrete action by the Afghan government to combat corruption and strengthen government institutions that provide services and create opportunities for Afghan citizens.
Australia and the United States acknowledged the strategic importance of Pakistan to South Asia's regional stability and reinforced their long-term commitment to support Pakistan as a partner in its efforts to achieve a democratic, stable and prosperous future. They reaffirmed the importance of continued, close cooperation with Pakistan to confront terrorism and militant extremism.
Australia and the United States welcomed the 15 October 2010 Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) meeting's agreement on steps to support Pakistan's longer-term economic renewal.
Australia and the United States will continue to cooperate globally to combat terrorism, bilaterally and in partnership with other countries and institutions. Both countries welcomed the efforts of countries in Southeast Asia to confront terrorism, and committed to continue to cooperate closely with them.
Both countries hope to begin discussions in the near future regarding an Arms Trade Treaty to strengthen barriers to illicit arms trade.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed their goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Both countries pledged to advance the actions agreed at the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, to press for negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, and to progress work on nuclear security.
The United States welcomed Australia's initiative, with Japan, to establish a cross-regional group of nations dedicated to advancing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Australia welcomed confirmation by the United States of its intent to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Both countries welcomed the outcome of the Terrorist Financing Conference they co-hosted under the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in Kazakhstan in September 2010. Australia and the United States committed to strengthening the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and welcomed increased engagement with the PSI in the Asia–Pacific region.
Australia and the United States reiterated their deep concern over Iran's continuing failure to comply with UN Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors' resolutions on its nuclear activities.
They reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of UNSCR 1929. A central priority for both countries is Iran's compliance with its international obligations on its nuclear and missile programs. They urged Iran to grasp the opportunity to engage constructively with the P5+1 at talks later this month, to remove doubt about Iran's nuclear intentions. They noted with concern the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran and called on Iran to meet its international human rights obligations.
Australia expressed strong support for US-led efforts to achieve a just and enduring peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution. Australia and the United States urged the Israelis and Palestinians to seize the opportunity for peace by continuing, as a matter of urgency, direct talks, with the goal of reaching agreement on final status issues within one year, and to refrain from any actions, including settlement activity, which undermined trust and the climate for negotiations.
Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to Palestinian institution building in preparation for statehood and called on all parties, particularly regional countries, to support these efforts through financial and other tangible assistance.
Australia and the United States underlined their support for the 2005 Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), including the referenda on self- determination for Southern Sudan and Abyei scheduled for 9 January 2011. Both countries recognised the importance of fair and credible referenda and affirmed their shared determination to ensure a peaceful resolution of issues surrounding the CPA process.
21st Century Security Challenges
Building upon a long history of defence space cooperation, Australia and the United States signed a Space Situational Awareness Partnership Statement of Principles, which should enable further close cooperation on space surveillance to the benefit of both countries.
Australia and the United States shared a deep concern about the increasingly interdependent, congested, and contested nature of outer space and acknowledged that preventing behaviours that could result in mishaps, misperceptions or mistrust was a high priority. Australia welcomed the US decision, reflected in the June 2010 US National Space Policy, to consider space arms control measures that are equitable, verifiable and in its and its allies' national interests. Australia intends to work with the United States to progress their shared goal of enhanced space security, with a particular focus on transparency and confidence-building measures.
The two Governments endorsed a Joint Statement on Space Security highlighting their shared views and resolve to cooperate with like-minded countries to ensure free and safe access to space.
Recognising the increasing sophistication of threats against both countries in cyberspace, Australia and the United States intend to promote a secure, resilient and trusted cyberspace that assures safe and secure access for all nations. Both countries recognised the benefits to be derived from enhanced collaboration when operating and defending mutual national interests in cyberspace, including shared defence and economic interests. Both countries committed to work together to advance the development of shared international norms for cyberspace.
Global Economy and International Development
Australia and the United States are committed to cooperate with other G20 countries to achieve secure, strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth including through the G20's Framework and its development agenda. They welcomed the agreements reached by G20 Finance Ministers in Gyeongju on reform of the international financial system and the IMF. Australia and the United States pledged to implement as quickly as possible the agreed IMF quota reform.
Australia and the United States underlined their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals. The strategic partnership on international development cooperation between AusAID and USAID will combine the efforts of both countries to foster stability, security and prosperity in developing regions and countries. Together they will strive for effective outcomes in priority areas: maternal and child health and family planning: food security and agricultural research; climate change and natural resource management; and cooperation on stabilisation, reconstruction and development in Afghanistan.
Australia and the United States agreed on the importance of civil-military collaboration in conflict, disaster management, stabilisation and counter-insurgency operations, in conflict prevention strategies and in strengthening the UN's capacity to conduct peacekeeping operations.
Regional Challenges and Opportunities
Both countries underlined the significance of strong regional architecture to achieve security and economic prosperity. Australia welcomed US membership in the East Asia Summit (EAS) starting in 2011. The United States thanked Australia for its leadership and advocacy to strengthen regional institutions. Both countries recognised the EAS as a key regional leaders' meeting with a broad mandate to cooperate on a range of political, security and economic challenges, and they looked forward to the development of the EAS's agenda.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to APEC as a mechanism for embracing a 21st century economic agenda in the Asia–Pacific region. Australia looks forward to working closely with the United States in its 2011 APEC host year.
They welcomed the inaugural ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus as a further component of strengthened regional architecture.
Australia and the United States expressed a common national interest in peace and stability, freedom of navigation, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and application of the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. They affirmed the need for peaceful resolution of regional maritime territorial disputes, including in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. They supported negotiation of a more formal, binding Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.
Australia and the United States resolved to elevate Australia–US dialogue on East Asia.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed Japan's key role in regional and international security and intend to strengthen further the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue and Security and Defence Cooperation Forum.
Both Australia and the United States acknowledged the important and constructive role played by the Republic of Korea in the Asia-Pacific region. They condemned the sinking of the South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, and called on all regional parties to support peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. Australia and the United States called on North Korea to end provocations and to work sincerely towards the goal of the verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.
Australia and the United States share the goal of seeking a positive, cooperative relationship with China on regional economic development and common security concerns as well as on addressing global challenges.
Australia and the United States commended Indonesia's continued gains in strengthening its democracy and countering terrorist groups, and emphasised the significance of both countries' strategic and comprehensive partnerships with Indonesia.
Australia and the United States welcomed India's growing global role and noted their commitment to work closely with India to enhance security and prosperity in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
Australia and the United States underlined their deep regret that the Burmese authorities failed to hold free, fair and genuinely inclusive elections on 7 November.
Both countries urged Burma's leaders to ensure that post-election institutions be transparent, accountable and responsive to their citizens' aspirations. They called on the Burmese authorities to release without delay or conditions Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, respect basic human rights, and begin genuine dialogue toward national reconciliation.
Both countries viewed maritime law enforcement, particularly protection of fish stocks, as a major security challenge for the Southwest Pacific. Australia welcomed the US commitment to enhance maritime surveillance and enforcement capacity through its shiprider agreements with Pacific Island Countries, and reaffirmed Australia's active support for negotiations for a multilateral Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement on fisheries surveillance cooperation and law enforcement between Forum Fisheries Agency members. Both countries committed to build on these initiatives to strengthen the management of the Southwest Pacific's fisheries resources and deliver equitable and sustainable outcomes for Pacific Island countries.
Australia and the United States confirmed their support for steps that would hasten the restoration of democratic institutions and the rule of law in Fiji. Both countries emphasised that the commencement of genuine, inclusive political dialogue in Fiji, without preconditions or predetermined outcomes, as called for by Leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum, is a necessary first step. They noted the continuation of the Public Emergency Regulations and their negative impact on human rights in Fiji.
Australia welcomed the US Global Force Posture Review and recognised its importance in positioning the United States for future security challenges, including in the Asia-Pacific. Australia and the United States resolved to work collaboratively on their force postures in the Asia-Pacific and continue to work with regional partners to maintain a stable and secure region.
Australia welcomed the February 2010 US Ballistic Missile Defence Review, which re-focused US missile defence efforts on regional strategies to meet the more immediate challenge of missile threats from certain states, in particular the DPRK and Iran. Australia noted the United States' focus on sustaining and enhancing the US military's ability to defend the US homeland against attack by a small number of long-range ballistic missiles. Australia and the United States confirmed that these regional missile defence strategies would not undermine the deterrent effect of the strategic balance between the major nuclear powers.
The United States welcomed Australia's program of capability development outlined in the White Paper, and Australia noted the importance of technology and materiel exchanges in meeting these capability goals.
Australia welcomed the recent passage of the Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty through the US Congress and intends to make all efforts to secure early passage of implementing legislation and ratification. Both countries recognised the value of the Treaty in streamlining and enhancing the defence trade relationship and discussed the way forward in practical implementation of the treaty in government and industry processes.
Australia and the United States noted the exchange of letters on the Full Knowledge and Concurrence arrangements for Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt, preparing for ratification of the 2008 Agreement setting out the terms and conditions for the joint use of the Station for the next 25 years.
Acknowledging the success of combined Exercise Talisman Sabre in developing the interoperability of the Australian Defence Force and US military, both countries intend to continue to work together to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the biosecurity arrangements associated with the exercise.
Next AUSMIN Consultations
The United States offered to host the next AUSMIN Consultations in 2011.