Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
In London today I met United Kingdom (UK) senior officials to discuss Australia-UK defence and security cooperation, and our shared international security interests.
UK Secretary of State for Defence Dr Liam Fox and I discussed progress on bilateral defence initiatives, including cooperation on defence acquisition, defence reform, and space and cyber matters.
This follows on from our work on these issues during Dr Fox’s visit to Australia in January for the Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN).
Recognising our close cooperation on Afghanistan, Dr Fox and I look forward to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)/ International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Defence Ministers’ Meeting on Afghanistan that will take place in Brussels tomorrow, Thursday 10 and Friday 11 March.
In addition to Afghanistan we discussed a number of global security issues, including current events in Libya.
We further discussed the prospect of Australia leasing or purchasing a Bay Class amphibious vessel from the UK.
In London I also met representatives of BAE Systems to reinforce the importance to Australia of a range of capability projects, including the $8 billion Air Warfare Destroyer project.
Tomorrow, Thursday 10 March, I depart London for Brussels to participate in the NATO/ ISAF Defence Ministers’ Meeting on Afghanistan.
Australia is committed to mentoring and training the Afghan National Security Forces in Uruzgan Province as part of the transitioning of security responsibility to the Afghan authorities across Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Mr Smith’s Office: Jim Cannon (02) 6277 7800 or 0434 160 551
Department: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408498 664
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