This week in Australian foreign affairs: Payne attending ASEAN meetings, investing $180 million in the Global Partnership for Education, new diplomatic postings, and more.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne noted on 4 August that she will participate in the ASEAN-Australia Post Ministerial Conference, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the ASEAN Regional Forum. She stated that “our partnership with ASEAN is vital as we deal together with the health and economic challenges brought on by COVID-19 … It is crucial that recovery is guided by the principles set out in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, including ASEAN centrality, transparency, inclusivity, good governance and respect for international law.”
On 29 July, Payne announced that Australia will invest $180 million in the Global Partnership for Education over the next five years, to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s education across the Indo-Pacific. She noted that “education and skills in the Indo-Pacific are more critical than ever as we seek to build stability and drive economic growth.”
Payne announced on 4 August that Kerin Ayyalaraju will be Australia’s next Ambassador to Denmark. Ayyalaraju will also be accredited to Iceland and Norway. Payne also issued a statement noting that Rachael Moore will be Australia’s next High Commissioner to Tonga.
On 4 August, Payne recognised the anniversary of the Beirut Port explosion in a statement delivered to the Senate. She stated that “Australia will continue to play its part in helping Lebanon with humanitarian assistance, meaningful reforms, better governance, and genuine accountability.”
Payne and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja issued a joint media release on 2 August where they noted that a $68 million financing package has been provided to Fiji Airports by the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific. Payne noted that, “this partnership between the Australian Government and industry responds to the needs of Fiji and underscores the importance of the entire region working together to overcome shared challenges.”
On 1 August, the Department of Defence acknowledged the official conclusion of Exercise Talisman Sabre, after three weeks of training with military personnel from seven nations. Commander Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Major General Jake Ellwood, stated that, “Australia and the United States came together with the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Republic of Korea to challenge ourselves at sea, on land, in air, and across the information/cyber and space domains.”
Minister for Trade Dan Tehan noted on 31 July that former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will travel to India in early August to meet with Indian ministers and business leaders. Tehan stated that Abbott’s visit will “progress our significant economic and trade relationship under the comprehensive strategic partnership.”
On 30 July, Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price delivered a joint statement alongside Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu, Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau. The Ministers acknowledged Vanautu’s receipt of its new Guardian-class Patrol Boat, the twelfth vessel delivered under the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program. Price stated that, “the new Guardian-class Patrol Boat will provide a boost to Vanuatu’s sovereign maritime capabilities and is another tangible demonstration of our security partnership.”
Isabella Keith is a weekly columnist for Australian Outlook. She is also an undergraduate student at the Australian National University studying Law and Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Isabella’s research interests include international law and comparative constitutional law.
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