Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, will visit New Caledonia on 23 May 2018 to meet with senior leaders and to visit Exercise Croix du Sud 18.
Minister Payne said the visit reaffirms Australia’s commitment to the security and stability of the Pacific as reflected in the 2016 Defence White Paper. The visit is an opportunity to enhance cooperation with French forces in the Pacific, and is particularly timely following the recent visit to Australia of His Excellency Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic.
“Australia is strengthening our partnerships across the Pacific and is committed to the security and stability of the region,” Minister Payne said.
“The French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) and the Armed Forces of French Polynesia make critical contributions to regional stability.”
Minister Payne will meet with Australian, French and United States personnel on board HMAS Choules as they participate in Exercise Croix du Sud, a biennial FANC-led humanitarian and disaster relief exercise.
The ADF’s participation in this exercise reaffirms Australia’s commitment to play a leading role in the region and to strengthen our interoperability with regional partners,” Minister Payne said.
“I look forward to meeting with officials from the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia and discussing opportunities for increased cooperation and collaboration between our forces in the region.”
Minister Payne will also lay a wreath at the Croix de Lorraine memorial which symbolises the liberation of France from Nazi Germany.
Minister Payne’s visit follows the third officials level Australia-France Strategic Dialogue held in Canberra last week.