Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, met today by videoconference with their Australian counterparts, Marise Payne and Peter Dutton, at a joint meeting in the “2+2” format.
These first discussions in such a format reflect the very high level of France and Australia’s strategic and operational cooperation. The ministers discussed our joint strategic analysis of the Indo-Pacific environment and signalled France’s wish to act jointly with Australia to achieve an open Indo-Pacific area based on upholding national sovereignties and international law, particularly the freedom of navigation.
The ministers also discussed the situation in Afghanistan.
The ministers welcomed the high level of operational engagement of our armed forces over the past year despite the constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They agreed on the next steps for strengthening our bilateral defence cooperation as well as our industrial partnerships with the aim of maintaining this momentum and deepening the enhanced strategic partnership that has united France and Australia since 2017. To this end, they committed to strengthening industrial and capability-centred cooperation and underpinned the importance of the future submarine programme. They also launched negotiations focused on strengthening and diversifying military cooperation in support of the posture of French forces in the Indo-Pacific.