Australia’s Inaugural Statement To The Osce Asian Partners For Cooperation And The Osce Troika Asian Partners Meeting

Astana, Kazakhstan

Speech, check against delivery, EO&E

1 December 2010

Mr Chairman

Australia greatly appreciates the warm welcome we have received since joining the OSCE as an Asian Partner for Cooperation in December 2009.

We appreciate the substantial efforts of our Kazakhstan Chair in convening the Summit.

We appreciate the hospitality here in Astana.

And we acknowledge that Kazakhstan’s energetic Chairmanship of the OSCE has allowed for a greater focus on the challenges of Central Asia.

I wish to acknowledge Greece, both as Chair of the Asian Partners for Cooperation Contact Group.

And for its special role in helping Australia become a Partner for Cooperation at the Athens ministerial last year.

I would also like to acknowledge the work of the Chairman-in-Office Special Representative for Asian Partners.

Ambassador Tezgor has promoted deeper cooperation between the partners and the OSCE.

Mr Chairman

As an Asian Partner, we’re in good company.

Looking around at our fellow Asian Partners, I see countries which, like Australia, are committed to making a real difference in addressing international security challenges.

I acknowledge Thailand and its work to counter illicit crop cultivation and strengthen border security including through convening an OSCE workshop on these subjects in January this year.

I acknowledge Mongolia’s concern with human trafficking and its hosting in February of an expert workshop on “Combating Modern Slavery”. I welcome, in advance, Mongolia’s hosting of the Asian Partners meeting next year.

I acknowledge the Republic of Korea, which has a strong focus on North Asian security issues and women’s security.

These themes featured prominently in Seoul at the annual Asian Partners meeting in May.

One pressing current issue is recent developments on the Korean peninsula. We condemn North Korea’s violent attack on South Korea earlier this month. North Korea’s erratic behaviour is threatening stability in North Asia.

We call on North Korea to adhere to international norms of behaviour and cease its hostile acts.

I acknowledge Japan, which together with Australia has established a cross-regional group of countries to take forward the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference outcomes.

Together, we continue to work towards negotiation of a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and support efforts to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force.

I acknowledge Afghanistan.

Like so many in the OSCE community, Australia is engaged intensively with Afghanistan to prevent it from ever again being used as a safe haven by international terrorist organisations.

Mr Chairman

In our own Asia Pacific region, Australia has been an active player on security issues.

We do this because Australia wants to contribute to the solutions to international security challenges.

Not just talk about the problems.

With 1550 troops in Afghanistan, we are the largest non-NATO contributor to ISAF, and the eleventh largest contributor overall.

Since 2001 we have contributed $740 million in grant aid to Afghanistan.

We have led in building effective partnerships to counter the scourge of terrorism

Established in 2004 by the Governments of Indonesia and Australia, the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) has trained law enforcement officers from across the region.

In June 2010, Australia was pleased to support an OSCE anti-money laundering and counter- terrorism financing project in Uzbekistan.

With Indonesia, we started the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Human Trafficking and Transnational Crime, now involving over 60 countries and 11 international organisations.

Key activities of the Bali Process include developing model legislation, sharing best practice in law enforcement, identity determination, electronic documentation exchange and public awareness campaigns.

I am pleased to announce today Australian funding for the Ukrainian component of an OSCE program against human trafficking in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

Support will be provided to Ukrainian authorities and civil society in the establishment of a National Referral Mechanism for victims of trafficking and development of a comprehensive legislative and operational framework to combat trafficking and assist victims.

We have led reconciliation and post-conflict efforts with our near neighbours, including the Solomon Islands, Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and East Timor.

We have co-sponsored a successful series of regional interfaith dialogues with our Asian neighbours.

Mr Chairman

We are deeply involved in improving the lives of vulnerable human beings or what in OSCE parlance is called the “human dimension” to security.

In 2010-11 Australia will provide A$4.3 billion of official development assistance. In the last five years we have doubled development assistance and we’re on track to double it again in the next five years. This is a bipartisan commitment of the Australian Government.

Australia’s aid is largely focused on the Asia Pacific region, which has two thirds of the world’s poor – some 800 million people – yet they receive less than one third of global aid.

And I would like to take a moment to acknowledge that today is World Aids Day. I wear a red ribbon today as a reminder that the world is about to enter its fourth decade of the AIDS epidemic.

Australia has been a prominent leader in the international response to HIV, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, for many years.

It is our response to the virus including the way we treat those most at risk that largely determines whether it spreads through a population or not and the impact it has on families, communities and economies.

The international community must not let down its guard. We must continue to pursue all avenues and invest in those that work.

Australia recently announced a 55 per cent increase in our commitment to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, bringing our new pledge to $210 million over three years. As of June this year, the Fund had helped nearly three million people receive anti- retroviral treatment and nearly one million HIV positive women with treatment to prevent them passing an HIV death sentence on to their child.

Papua New Guinea has made real progress in rolling out anti-retroviral treatment. In 2009, three-quarters of people eligible were able to access treatment compared with none in 2004. In total Australia will commit over $170 million this year to help Papua New Guinea and other countries respond to HIV.

That is one vital way in which Australians are helping lives around the world through our national aid program.

But more than just medical care, we seek to change lives through promoting and protecting human rights in our development assistance activities.

We are actively supporting grass roots activities and building the institutional capacity of national human rights bodies.

Australia strongly supports the OSCE’s work in promoting human rights.

Australia seeks to maximise the benefits for human rights in development assistance activities. We promote and protect human rights through supporting grass roots activities and building the institutional capacity of national human rights bodies.

Australia strongly supports the OSCE’s work in promoting human rights.

I am also pleased to announce today Australia’s contribution to the promotion of effective human rights teaching and learning strategies in Central Asia, including through encouraging the adoption of a Human Rights Education Compendium of Best Practice by states in the region.

Mr Chairman

Australia is a constructive player in the regional architecture of the Asia Pacific. We are a founding member of APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum. And we are proud of our status as ASEAN’s first dialogue partner.

We have advocated successfully the expansion of the East Asia Summit so that we have a regional institution with wide membership and wide mandate and meeting at summit level.

So that we can deal with the breadth and depth of political, security, economic and environmental challenges we will face in the 21st century.

We are keen to work with Asian Partners to reflect our joint experiences in OSCE forums and operations.

Mr Chairman

Australia recognises in the OSCE’s work the same issues that concern all nations which have a stake in international security.

Issues such as transnational crime, terrorism, the future of Afghanistan, arms control, conflict resolution and human rights.

Australia, alongside our fellow Asian Partners, has a strong basis for building relations with the OSCE. I look forward to the deepening of our relationship with the OSCE.

END

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