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Media release

with Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon MP

22 February 2008

Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations 2008

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith, and the Minister for Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon, today announced that Australia will host the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in Canberra on 23 February 2008.

United States Secretary of Defence, Dr Robert Gates, and Deputy Secretary of State, Ambassador John Negroponte, will lead the US delegation to AUSMIN. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and Commander US Pacific Command, Admiral Timothy Keating, will also attend.

AUSMIN is the premier bilateral forum for consultations on foreign affairs, defence and strategic matters. AUSMIN embodies the reciprocal and cooperative spirit of the 60-year Alliance, which is built on shared interests, values and sacrifice.

AUSMIN discussions will reflect the global dimensions of Australia – United States cooperation in confronting contemporary security challenges, as well as our close cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region to promote peace, security and prosperity.

The consultations further underscore the Government’s commitment to the Alliance, and follow on Mr Smith’s recent talks with senior members of the US Administration in Washington and Mr Fitzgibbon’s recent visit to Vilnius to discuss Australia’s contribution to the multinational effort in Afghanistan.

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