Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles and Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong will travel to France and the United Kingdom. The second Australia-France Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations (2+2) will take place on 30 January in Paris and the Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN) will be held from 1 to 2 February in London and Portsmouth.

In France, discussions with Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna and Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu will develop and align French and Australian responses to the increasingly challenging strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific and in Europe. Ministers will progress work towards a bilateral roadmap to strengthen collaboration across defence and security, resilience and climate action, and education and culture.

The meeting with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace will focus on modernising the bilateral relationship, elevating cooperation to tackle climate change, building economic resilience and contributing to global peace and security.

Wong will also meet with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in Brussels. Australia’s partnerships with Europe and the UK work to foster a world that is peaceful, stable and prosperous, and in which sovereignty is respected. Following these meetings in France and the United Kingdom, the Deputy Prime Minister will travel to the United States to meet with his counterpart, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Marles said “In an increasingly challenging strategic environment, our longstanding defence relationships with France and the United Kingdom are essential to promoting stability, protecting the rules-based order and avoiding further conflict. I look forward to working with my French and UK counterparts to continue supporting Ukraine and ensure an inclusive, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. The visit to the United Kingdom also provides an important opportunity to discuss AUKUS.”

Wong said “The Australian Government is committed to an enduring and productive bilateral relationship with France. Deepening practical cooperation with France in the Indo-Pacific, reflecting the priorities of our partners, is critical to our vision of regional stability. Close coordination with the EU is essential as we stand together to face challenges in Europe and in our region. We are modernising our longstanding relationship with the United Kingdom to face a changing world.”

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