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Visit by Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim.

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23 February 2009

Visit by Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim I met Malaysia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Rais Yatim, in Canberra today for formal bilateral discussions.

Malaysia's long-standing relationship with Australia and its active participation in our region make Malaysia a highly valued partner.

Australia and Malaysia enjoy strong cooperation in trade and investment, tourism, education, defence, counter-terrorism and law enforcement. More than 20,000 Malaysians studied in Australia during 2008, reinforcing the extensive people-to-people ties we have

built over many years.

2007 marked the 50th anniversary of Malaysia's independence. This also marked 50 years of formal diplomatic relations between our two countries. Australia was one of fifteen countries to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Federation of Malaya soon after its independence on 31 August 1957.

During our meeting Dr Yatim and I discussed progress on recent initiatives between Australia and Malaysia, following on Prime Minister Rudd's visit to Malaysia in July last year.

These initiatives include cooperation to provide peacekeeping training in the region, a pilot Sister Schools Project and the joint development of a teacher-training program for teachers from Afghanistan to be delivered through Malaysian institutions.

In 2005 the Australia Government established the Australia-Malaysia Institute (AMI) with the objective of enhancing links between Australia and Malaysia. The Institute aims to deepen mutual understanding and cooperation between Australia and Malaysia for the mutual benefit of both nations.

We also discussed my planned official visit to Malaysia later this year, for the first regular Australia - Malaysia Foreign Ministers' Meeting.

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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