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Foreign Minister visit to Africa and Europe



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Minister’s Office: 02 6277 7500 or 0466 745 615 DFAT: 02 6261 1555

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP

FOREIGN MINISTER VISIT TO AFRICA AND EUROPE

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd departs today for Africa and Europe, where he will participate in high-level African Union and World Economic Forum meetings.

Mr Rudd will travel to Ethiopia for meetings with the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and to attend the African Union Executive Council-Foreign Ministers' meeting.

The Foreign Minister will discuss with his African counterparts Australia’s growing economic interests in Africa including over US$20 billion in Australian investment in Africa’s resources sector, and our common interests to work together in regional and multilateral fora to meet global challenges, such as climate change and United Nations reform.

He will also discuss bilateral and regional security challenges including the situation in Sudan and terrorism.

While in Ethiopia, Mr Rudd will open the Australian Embassy in Addis Ababa.

Mr Rudd will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where he will participate both as a discussion leader and rapporteur in sessions on commodity price stabilisation and the role of the G20 in the multilateral system.

“Australia’s participation in the Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders provides an important opportunity for Australia to contribute to shaping global political, social, economic and business agendas in 2011,” said Mr Rudd.

Following the Forum, Mr Rudd will travel to Turkey where he will meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Professor Davutoğlu. He will discuss Australia’s substantial agenda for bilateral and other cooperation with Turkey, incorporating closer security and defence cooperation, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and our common interests in the G20 and WTO Doha Round negotiations, as well as disarmament and non-proliferation.

“Turkey is an important and globally influential friend and partner for Australia, and in recent years we have strengthened our cooperation on security, investment and finance, agriculture and defence.”

Minister’s Office:02 6277 7500 or 0466 745 615 DFAT: 02 6261 1555

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In Athens, the Foreign Minister will pursue a range of bilateral issues with Greek Foreign Minister Droutsas and will meet with Prime Minister Papandreau to discuss his upcoming visit to Australia.

“This year has special significance for our two nations as the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete when Australian soldiers fought alongside their Greek counterparts to resist invasion. That shared sacrifice forged a special bond between our two countries.”

En route to the Munich Security Conference Mr Rudd will also incorporate a short side trip to Liechtenstein where he will hold discussions with Foreign Minister Frick, including progressing the Tax Information Exchange Agreement.

The Munich Security Conference is a meeting of government and business leaders from around the world who discuss current and future global security challenges including the implications of the global financial crisis, non-proliferation and disarmament, and cyber security issues. Mr Rudd will provide an Australian perspective on those challenges through his participation in this meeting.

BRISBANE 24 JANUARY 2011