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Remarks to media at Chilean Presidential Palace

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The Hon Kevin Rudd MP Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs

Remarks to media at Chilean Presidential Palace La Moneda

Transcript, E&OE, proof only

18 December 2010

It is good to be here in Santiago. I had a great opportunity to speak this morning with President Piñera, as well as with the Foreign Minister. And I am looking forward to lunch with the Foreign Minister later today.

Australia and Chile are both strong democracies. And increasingly we are doing much more together across the Pacific. Today we have discussed so many things that we will do together in terms of economic cooperation. Obviously in the mining industry but in other sectors as well.

Also our education exchanges are growing and growing with thousands of Chilean students studying in Australia. And they are welcomed students and they are good kids. They have some fun, but they also do their homework, unlike many Australian students, including my son.

On top of that can I say that today we have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chilean Government on cooperation in the Pacific including the management of our maritime resources and fisheries.

This morning I also met with the Chilean Minister for Mining, and today also we signed a Letter of Intent on mine safety cooperation. Chile has had a recent dramatic and successful experience in mine disasters. And Australia has been a mining country for the last 150 years. So Chile and Australia are going to do much more in mining safety. The mining workforces of the world need better mine safety. And our two countries can do a lot together to help the world.

Finally, could I also acknowledge Chile’s Ambassador to Australia who is with us today. Pablo Pedro Diaz is a very strong voice for Chile and Australia. And I am here today because he made it possible.

And very finally could I say that I just been moved to visit the rooms which Presidente Allende occupied in 1973. Those of us who studied in Australian universities in the seventies were inspired by Allende. So for me this has also been something of a personal and political pilgrimage. I heard today that there are more tragedies for the Allende family. So, as one human being that is a political leader, I convey my deepest condolences again to the Allende family.

Thank you.