Today Secretary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met with their Australian counterparts to further the United States-Australia alliance and to discuss global and regional security issues. The talks marked the 24th anniversary of the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) and 58 years of strategic partnership under the ANZUS alliance. Secretary Clinton said:"Today, it’s been a great pleasure to host not only my colleague, Secretary Gates, but also Foreign Minister Smith and Defense Minister Fitzgibbon for this year’s Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations. As President Obama said a few weeks ago when he met with Prime Minister Rudd, there are few countries that have been closer than the United States and Australia. And I think holding this AUSMIN meeting during the Obama Administration’s first 100 days underscores the importance we attach to our alliance and our belief in the strength of our partnership to meet bilateral, regional, and global challenges.
We had a far-reaching discussion that was indicative of the shared values and common approaches we take on many issues. We talked about our cooperation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, how we will intensify our efforts to defeat extremism, strengthen the rule of law, and promote economic development. We look forward to discussing these issues with the international community at the April 17th Pakistan donors conference in Tokyo.
We also discussed Iran and the ongoing efforts of the international community to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. We discussed the important goal of nonproliferation and a world without nuclear weapons, and how we will work together to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime.
And of course, we talked a lot about Asia. The United States is back engaged more fully in Asia. We need to expand our partnerships in the Asia Pacific region to address a wide range of concerns, from security issues to the economic crisis to climate change. We appreciate the constructive advice of our friends, and we are listening. Our commitment to a more rigorous, persistent engagement with the countries of Asia goes hand in hand with the work we do together with Australia. And our conversation underscored what a valuable partner Australia is in this endeavor, how we can use smart power to achieve shared security and shared prosperity.
The AUSMIN communiqué, which has been agreed upon and distributed, highlights several other outcomes of the meeting today. But let me just conclude by saying what a pleasure it was for me personally to host this important meeting, how very pleased I am with the discussions we had, and how much I’m looking forward to building on our valuable and enduring friendship."