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Opening remarks introducing United States Secretary of State, the Hon Madeleine Albright to the AustalAsia Centre of the Asia Society, Opera House Concert Hall, Sydney



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PHONE NO. : 925B3460 JUL. 30 1998 01:53PM P9

Opening Remarks by the

Minister for Foreign Affairs The Hon. Alexander Downer MP

introducing

United States Secretary o f State

The Hon. Madeleine Albright

to the

AustralAsia Centre of the Asia Society

Opera House Concert Hall

Sydney, 30 July 1998

PHONE NO. : 92583460 JUL. 30 1998 01:54PM P10

✓ _ _ w R O M :

of the Asia Society, Opera House Concert Hall, Sydney, u y

. Secretary Albright, Hugh Morgan, Dick Woolcott, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and

Gentlemen.

. . I am delighted to be here today · ' - ■

- and I am even more delighted to have the opportunity to welcome to Australia, and to introduce to you this afternoon, the US Secretary of State - and my good friend - Madeleine Albright, on her first visit to Australian shores.

. Secretary Albright is visiting Australia primarily to take part in the annual Australia-US Ministerial Consultations - known as 'AUSMIN' - which are being held in Sydney tomorrow.

. These annual talks are the centrepiece of the bilateral Australia-US annual calendar. Recent events in Asia demonstrate convincingly - if ever a demonstration were needed - the fundamential value of the Australia-US alliance and o f long-term US strategic engagement in the region.

. For Australia, the US alliance remains as vital as ever.

. It greatly strengthens our national defence posture and enhances Australia’s international standing.

. And, as every day o f the East Asian economic crisis shows, the United States’ strategic and economic engagement is vital for the region’s long-term stability and economic recovery.

. I am very pleased that Secretary Albright has been able to add a day to her busy schedule and see a little more of Australia and its people

- and deliver today's speech hosted by the AustralAsia Centre of the Asia Society.

- * * want to congratulate the Centre for its initiative and foresight in organising this event

• 11 would be very difficult to find a more appropriate location for this event than the Sydney Opera House.

- along with the equally spectacular Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House is a symbol for the way Australians from all walks o f life are reaching out to the region and beyond in friendship and cooperation.

- Sydney is a hub for much of Australia's rapidly expanding regional engagement.

: it is a city which reflects in full and vibrant measure the modern and outward­ looking Australia o f the 1990s.

: and, o f course, it is the host city for the 2000 Olympics.

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PHONE NO. : 92583460

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Secretary Albright is known for many things - not least her seemingly limitless energy and drive, and her unshakeable commitment to the fundamental values and ideals that are shared by Australians and Americans

. our commitment to free and open societies, individual initiative and tolerance, and genuine freedom of opportunity for all

These are the values that have drawn Australia and the United States together in times of peace and war throughout this turbulent century.

The fact is that our two countries do share an abiding friendship.

It is a genuinely unique partnership

- founded on long-standing and substantial political, strategic, trade and investment, cultural and people-to-people links.

More than that, our partnership has the virtue of being one which is capable o f delivering practical strategies and solutions to regional and global problems:

- solutions which are more widely acceptable and successful than either o f us could achieve alone

That is the real strength o f the relationship.

And that is why the Australian government is committed to developing this partnership at all levels

- cooperating where it makes sense, managing our differences, but always aware that we have fundamental broader interests and goals in common.

I don't think the Secretary would mind me saying that the best is yet to come - for Australia and the United States. .

- The future o f the United States - like Australia's future - is tied inextricably to the future o f the region we live in.

As I noted a few moments ago, the Asia Pacific is being tested thoroughly by profound economic, political and social changes

- Australia and the United States must continue to work together, and in close cooperation with others in the region and beyond, to meet these challenges

- this will be a key element of the Australia-US Consultations tomorrow

Continued, comprehensive US engagement in the Asia Pacific lies at the heart o f everything I am talking about because it is vital part of regional security and stability

- just as Australia's regional insight and strong commitment to effective cooperation contributes s.gnificantly to the Asia Pacific's growing sense of community and mutual

I am very much looking forward to hearing Secretary Albright's remarks today

Once again, a very warm welcome to Australia, Madam Secretary, and to Sydney