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Visit to the United States, Israel, Egypt, Italy and Thailand



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02/06 '98 19:16 FAX 02 6273 5959 MEDIA MONITORS MEDIA MONITORS a n

M ED IA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA71 2 June 1998

VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES, ISRAEL, EGYPT, ITALY AND THAILAND

I will visit the United States, Israel, Egypt, Italy and Thailand from 6 to 21 June for discussions on issues including world drug problems, nuclear arms control, the Middle East Peace Process, the establishment o f an International Criminal Court and ways to increase Australia’s trade opportunities. .

On 6 June I fly to New York to address a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on international drug problems, marking the 10th anniversary of the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Australia’s statement will highlight the Government’s supply and demand reduction approach as outlined in the Prime Minister’s Tough on Drugs strategy and our contribution to regional efforts to counter drug trafficking and consumption. I also plan to meet key UN officials, including

Secretary -General Kofi Annan, and key bilateral contacts. Issues for discussion will include the implications o f the recent nuclear testing by India and Pakistan, what strategies should be pursued to defend and promote nuclear non-proliferation and regional issues including developments in Bougainville and Cambodia. UN officials will also give me an assessment of the situation in Iraq and I will have an opportunity to advance Australia’s initiative announced in March for a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention.

From 10 to 14 June, I visit Israel and Egypt - my first trip to the Middle East as Minister for Foreign Affairs. In Israel I will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior Israeli Ministers to discuss the Middle East Peace Process and bilateral issues. Talks on the peace process will also be held with senior officials in the West Bank and Gaza. On the trade side. I am giving the keynote address at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce meeting in Tel Aviv and will meet the Israeli Minister for Communications Limor Livnat. who recently led a high-level information and telecommunications technology delegation to Australia.

My program in Egypt includes meetings with President Hosni Mubarak and senior Egyptian Ministers on regional and bilateral issues and a visit to the Sinai to present medals to 26 Australian Defence Force staff serving in the Multinational Force and Observers operation

which supports the Camp David accords of 1978. I will also donate an Australian-made F1A4 mine detector to help remove some of the 18 million landmines in Egypt and visit a new joint Australian-Egyptian venture, the Five Star Flour Mills in Ai Adabiuya, where the

first milling of Australian wheat is expected to take place this month. Egypt imports around SA300 million worth o f wheat from Australia each year.

In Italy, from 15-18 June, I will address the Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court and hold bilateral talks with a number of other delegation leaders. Australia is meeting other member states of the United Nations in Rome to finalise

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02/06 '98 19:16 FAX 02 6273 5959 MEDIA MONITORS MEDIA MONITORS

and adopt the Statute for an International Criminal Court which would have jurisdiction over the most serious crimes o f international concern, such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. I will also discuss a range of global and bilateral matters with senior Italian Ministers. Italy is our second largest export market in Europe and we are committed to expanding business, cultural, science and technology links under the recently established Australia-Italy Economic and Cultural Council.

In Thailand on 19 June I intend to follow up on the outcomes of the Prime M inister’s recent visit there and discuss with Thai Ministers the impact o f the regional economic crisis and progress on the Thai Government’s implementation of IMF reforms. On 20 June I will attend a "Friends o f Cambodia" meeting co-hosted by Thailand on behalf of the ASEAN Troika (Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia). This meeting aims to coordinate an international response to the Cambodian election process and discuss arrangements for an international observer force to monitor the elections.

Media inquiries: Innes Willox 02 62777500 or 0411 414 695 Tony Melville (02) 62611555