First Australian Foreign Minister visit to Asia-Europe meeting

Media release

Canberra

5 June 2011

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd leaves today to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Hungary, and lead the Australian delegation to the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in the United States.

Mr Rudd will be the first Australian Foreign Minister to participate in the ASEM forum, when he attends in Budapest on 6 and 7 June.

“The theme of this year's meeting is non-traditional security challenges. This covers issues such as energy and food security, disaster response and management, and counter-terrorism. These issues are all front and centre for Australia,” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd will then join foreign ministers and other senior representatives of the US, the UK, Germany, France, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and other key states for a meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Abu Dhabi on 9 June. The Contact Group shapes international political and humanitarian responses to the crisis in Libya.

Following the Contact Group meeting, Mr Rudd will travel to New York for the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS.

"Around 33 million people are now living with HIV, and 5 million of those are our neighbours,” Mr Rudd said.

“This meeting will work towards universal access to HIV prevention, support, and treatment as well as ending discrimination against those living with the disease."

As co-chair of this UN forum, Australia takes a leading role in negotiations to guide the global response to HIV.

The week concludes with Mr Rudd's attendance at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation's (GAVI) “Saving Children's Lives” pledging conference in London on 12 June.

GAVI is a public-private partnership working to increase the number of children worldwide who have access to immunisation.

“In the last decade GAVI has immunised more than 288 million children and prevented more than five million deaths, and Australia should be proud to be a significant contributor,” Mr Rudd said.

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