Australia – Meeting of Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministers – Press Release (Videoconference, August 30, 2021)
Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, today met by videoconference their Australian counterparts, Marise Payne and Peter Dutton, during a joint meeting in the format ” 2 + 2 ”. .
These first discussions in such a format testify to the very high level of strategic and operational cooperation between France and Australia. The ministers discussed our joint strategic analysis of the Indo-Pacific environment and expressed France’s will to act jointly with Australia to achieve an open Indo-Pacific space based on respect for national sovereignties and international law, in particular the freedom of navigation.
The ministers also discussed the situation in Afghanistan.
The ministers welcomed the high level of operational commitment of our armed forces over the past year despite the constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They agreed on the next steps in strengthening our bilateral defense cooperation as well as our industrial partnerships in order to maintain this momentum and deepen the strengthened strategic partnership that has united France and Australia since 2017. To this end, they pledged to strengthen capacity-focused cooperation and stressed the importance of the future submarine program. They also launched negotiations focused on strengthening and diversifying military cooperation in support of the posture of French forces in the Indo-Pacific.