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Australia, New Zealand vow closer climate, military ties

Last Updated: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 13:35

Sydney: Australia and New Zealand vowed closer military ties and collaboration on climate change in an historic meeting of the two governments, their Prime Ministers said on Saturday.
Australian leader Kevin Rudd and his trans-Tasman counterpart John Key chaired the first-ever joint meeting of their cabinets on Friday, and said it had been a valuable opportunity to discuss their joint challenges.

Moving towards a single economic market in the context of global financial turmoil took precedence at the ministerial meeting, which also touched on climate change, counter-terrorism and Pacific development.

"Ministers discussed domestic, strategic, and international matters of concern to both governments, with a strong focus on the implications of the global economic crisis," said Rudd and Key, in a joint statement issued on Saturday.

The 14 ministers present affirmed their commitment to cooperation on emissions trading and urged an "ambitious" outcome at climate change talks between world leaders in Copenhagen in December.

They also discussed the importance of maintaining "close foreign policy settings" in the region, and voted for closer military cooperation and continued joint efforts to combat extremism, Rudd and Key said.

The historic meeting, which was attended by the trade, defence and commerce ministers of both countries, followed Rudd and Key`s announcement on Thursday that they would relax travel restrictions in a bid to merge the countries` economies.

The leaders also said they would consider establishing a joint military detachment, akin to the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, or ANZAC, which first fought together under a common banner in World War I.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 13:35

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