Last update: 19-May-2004 20:38 NATO Update

19 May 2004

First visit of senior Australian official to NATO HQ

18/05/2004 - NATO
Visit to NATO by Mr. Alexander Downer, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia on Wednesday, 19 May 2004
19/05/2004 - NATO
Statement by the Secretary General on the visit of the Foreign Minister of Australia, 19 May 2004
19/05/2004 - NATO
Joint press point with NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and Mr. Alexander Downer, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia
Audio file of the point de presse (.MP3/2594kb)
High resolution photos

"I think we had a historic first which is the address by the Honourable Alexander Downer, the Australian Foreign Minister, to the Council…" stated NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, at a joint press conference with the minister.

This was the first visit to NATO of a senior Australian official. The minister briefed the North Atlantic Council and held a bilateral meeting with the Secretary General on 19 May.

During their discussions, they stressed the importance of developing a more structured relationship at a time when threats have become global. "…there is of course a great unity in thinking and analyses and that's the reason that Australia and NATO should cooperate […] in a stronger and more expanded way in the future", Mr de Hoop Scheffer stated.

During the joint press conference, the Foreign Minister and the Secretary General referred specifically to greater cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as efforts to assist failed states, all of which affect democracies across the globe. They also discussed NATO's peacekeeping missions and other areas of common interest.