France-Australia Joint Statement On the official visit to Australia by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna

  • Media release
Australian Parliament House, Canberra

Australia and France share a commitment to a dynamic bilateral relationship founded on trust, shared values and shared interests, globally and in the Indo-Pacific, in line with the priorities agreed by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during their meeting on 1 July 2022.

Today's visit by France's Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, at the invitation of Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong, and the adoption of the France-Australia Bilateral Roadmap are further milestones in our renewed and ambitious France-Australia partnership.

The Roadmap is based on the three pillars of defence and security, resilience and climate action, and education and culture. We recognise the strategic challenges that the Indo-Pacific is facing, and we are using our partnership to advance regional peace, stability, and prosperity. We are working to support a just and clean energy transition and adaptation in both countries and with our partners in the Indo-Pacific. We are boosting opportunities for educational and research collaboration, and cultural understanding, to strengthen our people-to-people links.

We share a commitment to uphold multilateralism, international rules and norms, particularly the fundamental principles reflected in international law and the UN Charter, including on human rights, on sovereignty, territorial integrity and the peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to the threat or use of force or coercion.

Australia and France unequivocally condemn Hamas's 7 October terror attacks on Israel, and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. Australia and France recognise Israel's right to defend itself. In doing so, Israel must respect international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected. Safe and unimpeded humanitarian access must be increased. The world has witnessed a harrowing number of civilian deaths, including children. This must not continue. The recent pause in hostilities allowed for the release of more than 100 hostages and supported an increase in humanitarian access to affected civilians. We want to see the pause resumed and support international efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire. We recognise this cannot be one-sided. Hamas, a terror organisation, is still bombing Israel, using Palestinian civilians as shields, and holding hostages. The crisis underscores the need for a political solution to the long-running conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, which can only be a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state exist in peace and security within internationally recognised borders.

Almost two years since Russia's full-scale invasion, Australia and France reaffirm their ongoing and unequivocal condemnation of Russia's illegal unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine. Our shared commitment to supporting Ukraine remains unchanged. We demand that Russia immediately cease hostilities and withdraw its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. Russia's irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and its announced deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus are unacceptable. We call on all those with influence with Russia including China, to press Russia to stop its military aggression, and to support a just and lasting peace in Ukraine, fully respecting the United Nations Charter and, in particular, Ukraine's territorial integrity.

As Indo-Pacific countries, Australia and France agree to continue to work together to guarantee an Indo-Pacific region that is open, stable, prosperous and inclusive, with respect for all countries' sovereignty. We agree to commit to promoting practical measures to reduce the risk of strategic competition escalating into conflict.

Australia and France express strong opposition to any coercion or destabilising actions in the South China Sea, including militarisation of disputed features. We affirm the need for safe and professional behaviour in all domains and reaffirm the intention to continue transits and deployments in the Indo-Pacific in accordance with international law , particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We underline the importance of continuing to work together to support countries being able to exercise their rights under UNCLOS, including freedom of navigation and overflight. Australia and France recognise the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award is final and binding on both parties.

Australia and France reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We oppose any unilateral change to the status quo and call for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues through dialogue without the threat or use of force or coercion. We will continue to deepen unofficial economic, scientific, technological and cultural ties with Taiwan. We support Taiwan's meaningful participation to the work of international organisations, including as a member where statehood is not a prerequisite.

Australia and France are committed to continuing to develop their cooperation to support Pacific priorities, fostering regional security, stability and economic progress. The Letter of Intent signed between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Agence Française de Développement will enhance our coordination and cooperation in the Pacific, including on Pacific priorities such as climate change resilience, fostering energy transition, humanitarian assistance, the prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and action in the leadup to UNOC3 in 2025. We will continue to strengthen cooperation with the Pacific, including through the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and other regional organisations, in support of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

On the existential challenge of climate change, the France-Australia partnership is committed to strengthening adaptability and resilience of island countries, while protecting their forest and marine ecosystems. Preservation of the rich biodiversity of the Pacific remains at the heart of our common interests. Australia and France will continue to act in concert to ensure an effective response to natural disasters and their humanitarian impacts in the Pacific.

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