Minister for Defence - French and Australian Defence Ministers meet in Perth

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Senator the Hon David Johnston

Minister for Defence

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2 November 2014

The Australian Minister for Defence, Senator David Johnston, and his French counterpart, Minister for Defence of the French Republic Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian have met in Australia to discuss shared interests between both countries.

The visit took place from 31 October to 2 November 2014.

Both Ministers attended the Albany Convoy Commemorative Event on 1 November marking the 100th anniversary of the departure of the first convoy of ships carrying the Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to the First World War.

During the event, Mr Le Drian awarded the insignia of the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honour) to three Australian veterans who served in France during the Second World War.

Following the visit to Albany, the Ministers met in Perth to discuss shared strategic concerns in the Middle-East and efforts to address international terrorism. The Ministers confirmed their strong commitment, together with international partners, to assist Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

French and Australian aircraft are participating in operations against ISIL. In support of these operations, the Ministers signed a technical arrangement on air-to-air refuelling of French Rafale aircraft by Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft.

The Ministers also discussed progress in concluding negotiations on a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement to facilitate cooperation between Australia and France on operations, including disaster relief and humanitarian contingencies.

The Ministers noted the strength of defence cooperation between Australia and France in the Pacific, as shown by exchanges within the France, Australia and New Zealand (FRANZ) and Quadrilateral (QUADS) frameworks and cross-participation in military exercises in Australia (Pitch Black) and in New Caledonia (Croix du Sud).

Mr Le Drian proposed that France host a trilateral seminar between France, Australia and New Zealand in Noumea, in 2015, to discuss opportunities for further cooperation on maritime surveillance in the South Pacific region.

Both Ministers noted close cooperation on naval capabilities and the importance of continued exchanges. The Ministers concluded that France and Australia should continue to work closely on defence capabilities and to share best practices and lessons learned in operational and technical fields.

Mr Le Drian’s visit follows several meetings between French and Australian leaders in 2014 and comes shortly before the French President’s attendance at the G20 Summit and his first official visit to Australia.

Media contacts:

Rebecca Horton (Minister Johnston’s Office) 0477 389 554

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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