Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met in Melbourne on 8 November 2010 for the annual Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN).
The talks marked the 25th anniversary of AUSMIN and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The 2010 AUSMIN confirmed the enduring value of the Australia-US Alliance and its adaptability in meeting contemporary and evolving strategic challenges.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed their shared commitment to the international effort in Afghanistan.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed that strengthened architecture in the Asia-Pacific region is fundamental to security and economic prosperity. Both countries welcomed the expansion of the East Asia Summit (EAS), to include the participation of the United States from 2011. The United States welcomed Australia’s leading role as an advocate for strengthened regional institutions, and for a more significant role for the EAS.
Recognising that strong cooperative mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific region are fundamental to global stability and prosperity, Australia and the United States pledged to collaborate further on regional security matters, including through bilateral consultations on the US Global Force Posture Review and by enhancing their bilateral dialogue on East Asia.
Australia and the United States are committed to working together to help shape international norms to advance vital shared interests in the domains of sea, airspace and outer space as well as to advance important matters related to cybersecurity.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed their shared commitment to the international effort in Afghanistan to prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for terrorists and violent extremists.
They honoured the sacrifices of Australian and US military forces in Afghanistan.
Australia and the United States endorsed the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) strategy and underlined the importance of endorsing a credible, conditions-based transition plan at the NATO / ISAF Leaders’ Summit in Lisbon in November that would enable the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to progressively assume responsibility for security in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Australia and the United States welcomed each other’s additional civilian and military contributions for Afghanistan since the last AUSMIN. Both countries appreciated their close cooperation through Combined Team Uruzgan to build a stronger security environment in Uruzgan Province.
Both countries affirmed the importance of close cooperation to decrease the threat to our military forces from Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs).
Both countries reaffirmed their support for concrete action by the Afghan government to combat corruption and strengthen government institutions that provide services and create opportunities for Afghan citizens.
Australia and the United States acknowledged the strategic importance of Pakistan to South Asia’s regional stability and reinforced their long-term commitment to support Pakistan as a partner in its efforts to achieve a democratic, stable and prosperous future. They reaffirmed the importance of continued, close cooperation with Pakistan to confront terrorism and militant extremism.
Australia and the United States welcomed the 15 October 2010 Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) meeting’s agreement on steps to support Pakistan’s longer-term economic renewal.
Australia and the United States will continue to cooperate globally to combat terrorism, bilaterally and in partnership with other countries and institutions. Both countries welcomed the efforts of countries in Southeast Asia to confront terrorism, and committed to continue to cooperate closely with them.
Both countries hope to begin discussions in the near future regarding an Arms Trade Treaty to strengthen barriers to illicit arms trade.
Australia and the United States reaffirmed their goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Both countries pledged to advance the actions agreed at the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, to press for negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, and to progress work on nuclear security. The United States welcomed Australia’s initiative, with Japan, to establish a cross-regional group of nations dedicated to advancing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Australia welcomed confirmation by the United States of its intent to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Both countries welcomed the outcome of the Terrorist Financing Conference they co-hosted under the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in Kazakhstan in September 2010.
Australia and the United States committed to strengthening the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and welcomed increased engagement with the PSI in the Asia-Pacific region.
Australia and the United States reiterated their deep concern over Iran’s continuing failure to comply with UN Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors’ resolutions on its nuclear activities.
They reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of UNSCR 1929.
A central priority for both countries is Iran’s compliance with its international obligations on its nuclear and missile programs. They urged Iran to grasp the opportunity to engage constructively with the P5+1 at talks later this month, to remove doubt about Iran’s nuclear intentions. They noted with concern the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran and called on Iran to meet its international human rights obligations.
Australia expressed strong support for US-led efforts to achieve a just and enduring peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution. Australia and the United States urged the Israelis and Palestinians to seize the opportunity for peace by continuing, as a matter of urgency, direct talks, with the goal of reaching agreement on final status issues within one year, and to refrain from any actions, including settlement activity, which undermined trust and the climate for negotiations.
Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to Palestinian institution building in preparation for statehood and called on all parties, particularly regional countries, to support these efforts through financial and other tangible assistance.
Australia and the United States underlined their support for the 2005 Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), including the referenda on self-determination for Southern Sudan and Abyei scheduled for 9 January 2011. Both countries recognised the importance of fair and credible referenda and affirmed their shared determination to ensure a peaceful resolution of issues surrounding the CPA process.
21st Century Security Challenges
Building upon a long history of defence space cooperation, Australia and the United States signed a Space Situational Awareness Partnership Statement of Principles, which should enable further close cooperation on space surveillance to the benefit of both countries.
Australia and the United States shared a deep concern about the increasingly interdependent, congested, and contested nature of outer space and acknowledged that preventing behaviours that could result in mishaps, misperceptions or mistrust was a high priority. Australia welcomed the US decision, reflected in the June 2010 US National Space Policy, to consider space arms control measures that are equitable, verifiable and in its and its allies’ national interests. Australia intends to work with the United States to progress their shared goal of enhanced space security, with a particular focus on transparency and confidence-building measures. The two Governments endorsed a Joint Statement on Space Security highlighting their shared views and resolve to cooperate with like-minded countries to ensure free and safe access to space.
Recognising the increasing sophistication of threats against both countries in cyberspace, Australia and the United States intend to promote a secure, resilient and trusted cyberspace that assures safe and secure access for all nations. Both countries recognised the benefits to be derived from enhanced collaboration when operating and defending mutual national interests in cyberspace, including shared defence and economic interests. Both countries committed to work together to advance the development of shared international norms for cyberspace.