French, Australian ministers meet to improve ties
Yves Jego and Stephen Smith meet in Australia to strengthen economic and military cooperation.
10 November 2008
SYDNEY - France and Australia are working together to help calm global financial trouble and push for reforms to prevent another crisis, French state secretary for overseas affairs Yves Jego said Monday.
The crisis will be discussed when Jego and Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith meet Monday during a one-day visit aimed at strengthening relations between the two nations.
The two men are due to discuss cooperation between France and Australia before a G20 summit held in Washington later in November aimed at easing the trouble facing world markets and economies.
"The financial crisis is another reason for France and Australia to boost cooperation and work in closer partnership," Jego told reporters before the meeting.
"We want a full partnership with Australia as we share a common vision about working with the international community to emerge from the crisis," he said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is working hard to push reforms to ensure that a similar financial crisis never happens again, Jego said.
France and Australia agreed that all governments must work together to first stabilise the financial system and then improve policies to stop dangerous actions by financial institutions that caused the trouble, he said.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd expressed similar views, calling for global regulation to prevent executives of banks that engage in risky deals from being financially rewarded for the transactions.
Jego is also in Australia to mark the 90th anniversary of the peace agreement that ended World War I, in which 46,000 Australian troops died while fighting in France, Belgium and other European countries.
Fighting together created a bond between Australia and France that could never be broken and should be used to move towards even closer ties, notably in the Pacific Ocean, he said.
"Ties that are forged in pain and in blood underpin our desire to boost cooperation today," he added.
The French Pacific territories of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna are all neighbours of Australia, which agreed earlier in 2008 to increase military cooperation with France in the region.
Australian Parliamentary Secretary for the Pacific, Duncan Kerr, will travel with Jego to New Caledonia later Monday as the two countries move to strengthen regional cooperation.
"In recent years, as a result of New Caledonia's increasing autonomy, relations between Australia and New Caledonia have broadened and strengthened," Kerr said of the trip, during which he will attend a memorial ceremony with Jego.
[AFP / Expatica]