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Foreign Minister's visit ot Indonesia, the Middle East and South America



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Minister’s Office: 02 6277 7500 or 0434 664 589 Department: 02 6261 1555

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP

FOREIGN MINISTER’S VISIT TO INDONESIA, THE MIDDLE EAST AND SOUTH AMERICA

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, departs tomorrow evening on a visit to Indonesia, the Middle East and South America.

In Indonesia, Mr Rudd will attend the third Bali Democracy Forum. The forum is an initiative of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and emphasises sharing ideas and experiences that lead nations towards democracy.

Mr Rudd said Indonesia’s evolution to a multi-party democracy has been extraordinary, and is a catalyst for democratisation in our region.

“The evolution of the Bali Democracy Forum, under President Yudhoyono’s leadership, illustrates Indonesia’s commitment to advocating the benefits of democracy in our region. I am proud to continue to support President Yudhoyono’s far-sighted vision.”

After attending the forum, Mr Rudd will spend five days in the Middle East.

Mr Rudd will visit Egypt and celebrate the 60th anniversary of Australia-Egypt relations.

“As a leader in the Arab League and African Union, Egypt has a key role to play in the stability and prosperity of its region and beyond and is an important partner for Australia,” Mr Rudd said.

A vital aspect of his visit overseas is Mr Rudd’s attendance at the third annual Australia-Israel Leadership Forum.

“Australia shares a longstanding and close friendship with Israel dating back to our support of the UN resolution that established the state of Israel in 1947,” said Mr Rudd.

Minister’s Office: 02 6277 7500 or 0434 664 589 Department: 02 6261 1555

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During meetings with national leaders President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Liberman, Mr Rudd will reaffirm Australia’s long-standing support for a two-state solution, where Israelis and Palestinians live side-by-side in peace and security.

He will also discuss the peace process in Ramallah during meetings with Palestinian leaders, which will highlight Australia’s ongoing and strong support for the Palestinian people.

“Australia is working in partnership with the Palestinian Authority to develop further assistance programs and aid commitments in support of a future Palestinian state,” Mr Rudd said.

The Foreign Minister will conclude his visit in South America with visits to Brazil and Chile.

Mr Rudd is the first Australian minister to address the Mercosur Council of Foreign and Trade Ministers and Leaders meetings which is being held this year in Brazil.

“Brazil is a growing player on the world stage, economically and politically, and a strong regional partner with whom we work very closely in the UN and WTO,” said Mr Rudd.

“It is set to be the world’s fifth largest economy within the next decade, and has a youthful population expected to grow to 220 million.

“My visit presents a valuable opportunity to affirm our commitment to Brazil, Mercosur and the region.”

Mr Rudd’s bilateral visit to Chile will focus on strengthening political dialogue, and co-operation in the important areas of education, mining, the environment and development co-operation.

“Chile is a close regional partner for Australia. We share perspectives on issues ranging from disarmament to trade liberalisation, and our business communities have developed substantial ties.”

7 DECEMBER 2010 CANBERRA