Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations 1996 Sydney Statement

Joint Security Declaration


For more than 50 years Australia and the United States have maintained a dynamic alliance relationship. As the strategic environment of the Asia pacific region has changed, our close defence ties have made an essential contribution to peace and security. The relationship will remain central to the security of both countries, because it reflects fundamental shared interests and objectives. The alliance will remain forward-looking and responsive to future challenges.

The ANZUS Treaty has long given shape and expression to advancement of our common interests. During these challenging times in the strategic development of the region, both countries take this opportunity to reaffirm their mutual commitment to the obligations flowing from the Treaty.

Australia and the United States place enduring value on the alliance because of its significance in maintaining and consolidating Australia's capability for self‑reliant defence, and because it constitutes a crucial element in the United States' permanent presence in the Asia Pacific region. Both governments reaffirm their commitment to that presence through forward-deployed US forces, access arrangements and exercises. We both attach importance to continuing Australian access to United States technology, close cooperation in intelligence matters, the assurance of resupply and logistics support in a crisis, and combined exercises and training to promote interoperability.

Our Governments seek to work together, and with others in the region, to promote our common security interests. Our aim is to contribute to the development of a regional security environment which:

  • promotes democracy, economic development and prosperity, and strategic stability;
  • forestalls the resort to force in international disputes;
  • prevents the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and
  • encourages cooperation to enhance the security of the region as a whole.

We look forward to strengthening the web of mutually reinforcing bilateral and multilateral security relationships in the region as a means to these ends.

Strengthening the Australia‑United States alliance will ensure that it continues to play a major part in enhancing the security of the Asia Pacific region as a whole. To this end, we have agreed that Australia will provide additional training opportunities for United States forces. This is an important development in the active support Australia has traditionally provided for forward‑deployed United States forces and does not reflect any diminution of the United States presence elsewhere in the Asia Pacific. Given the enduring benefits of the Joint Defence Facilities, both countries:

  • reaffirm their commitment to long-term continuation of the current arrangements at Pine Gap, to which end we have endorsed a further 10‑year extension of the agreement; and
  • effecting new arrangements following the planned closure of Nurrungar around the year 2000.

Both countries look forward to a successful joint exercise called Tandem Thrust scheduled for March 1997, a large and complex exercise involving 22,000 Australian and US personnel. It is a major step towards the Australian Defence Force/US Pacific Command vision for combined operations.

The Australia-United States alliance serves security objectives which are closely shared with other countries in the region. It is part of a comprehensive approach to the prevention of destabilising arms build-ups and the promotion of regional arrangements for confidence building and conflict resolution. A major goal of both countries is the continued development of strong bilateral relationships with Asia Pacific countries, and of regional forums such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Such forums enhance long term regional cooperation through peaceful dialogue. We are both committed to work with others to maintain the momentum of regional cooperation.

Australia and the United States share the goal of effective multilateral cooperation in arms control and non‑proliferation. Halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction means ensuring the effective operation of non‑proliferation and arms control regimes. We resolve to continue our work towards:

  • signing a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at the outset of the fifty‑first session of the UN General Assembly in September 1996;
  • achieving the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention in early 1997.

We will also work towards strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention, ensuring the effectiveness of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, strengthening International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and promoting the work of international export control regimes.

Our countries are committed to improving the international community's ability to respond effectively to outbreaks of conflict in various regions and to playing an appropriate role ourselves. We seek to reform the United Nations so that it can play a more effective role in safeguarding peace among nations.

Our common agenda seeks a secure and prosperous future for our two countries, the Asia Pacific region and the global community. Australia and the United States, as natural allies and treaty partners, are committed to making this objective a reality.

The Australia-United States security relationship, having proved its value for five decades, will remain a cornerstone of Asia Pacific security into the twenty‑first century.

Last Updated: 24 January 2013
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