NATO and Australia enhance cooperation

Posted in NATO | 11-Apr-05 | Source: NATO

During a visit to Australia from 31 March to 2 April, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer signed an agreement on the exchange of classified information, paving the way for greater cooperation.

This was the first visit by a NATO Secretary General to the country. Australia is not a formal partner country of NATO, but has contributed to NATO-led operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan.

The Secretary General discussed issues of common concern with Prime Minister John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Defence Minister Robert Hill. These included the fight against terrorism, Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan and in the Balkans.

Tackling globalised insecurity

To enhance cooperation and communication between NATO and Australia, the Australian Government has decided to assign a military attaché to NATO.

The Secretary General also signed an agreement allowing for the exchange of classified information with Australia.

In … a world of globalised insecurity, a regional approach simply no longer works,” Mr. De Hoop Scheffer said in a speech at the Australian Defence College in Canberra.

And that is why NATO has turned from a “Eurocentric” Alliance into a much more flexible instrument with which we can project stability wherever our common security interests demand it .”

Foreign Minister Downer visited NATO Headquarters in May 2004, the first visit by a senior Australian official to NATO.