The annual Australia-United States Ministerial consultations (AUSMIN) will
be held in Sydney on 26 and 27 July 1996. The talks, which are the primary
means for high-level government-to-government contact between the two countries
on foreign and security and defence policy, will be the first to be conducted
with the United States since the new Australian government took office.
The Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, and the Minister for Defence, Mr McLachlan,
will lead the Australian delegation. The Prime Minister, Mr Howard, will
also participate in the talks and host a dinner in honour of the US delegation.
The US delegation will be headed by the Secretary of State, Mr Warren Christopher,
and the Secretary of Defense, Mr William Perry, and will also include the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Shalikashvili, and the Commander
in Chief, US Pacific Command, Admiral Prueher.
Following recent visits to the United States by both Mr Downer and Mr McLachlan,
AUSMIN will be an important opportunity for Australia to exchange views
with senior levels of the Clinton Administration on the bilateral relationship
as well as regional and global developments.
A key objective of AUSMIN will be for both countries to reaffirm their commitment
to their alliance relationship. Australia's security relationship with
the United States under ANZUS has, for over 40 years, been a key part of
Australia's defence and contributed fundamentally to the security and stability
of the Asia Pacific region. Throughout that time the Alliance has adjusted
successfully to changing strategic circumstances. The security partnership
continues to be important to both countries, reflecting the fundamental
interests and objectives the two countries share.
At AUSMIN Ministers will be looking to strengthen Australia's partnership
with the United States so it can be best placed to meet our common security
challenges into the future, as well as contributing to the development of
broader regional security.
A background media briefing on the issues likely to be raised at AUSMIN
will be given to media by senior officials Mr Hugh White (Defence) and Mr
Kim Jones (DFAT) at Room 1R3 in Parliament House at 2pm on Wednesday 24
July. The briefing will be relayed live by fibre optic link to the International
Media Centre in Sydney for Sydney-based media.
For information on accreditation, please contact Ms Barbara Whiteman, DFAT
Sydney International Media Centre, on (02) 770 7077 or 0412 111135.