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Fact Sheet: The U.S.-Australia Alliance

November 10, 2014

Reinforcing our long history of close cooperation and partnership, President Obama and Prime Minister Abbott today reviewed a series of initiatives to expand and deepen collaboration between the United States and Australia.

Security and Defense Cooperation

The U.S.-Australia alliance is an anchor of peace and stability not only in the Asia-Pacific region but around the world. The United States and Australia will work together - bilaterally, in regional bodies, and through the UN - to advance peace and security from the coast of Somalia to Afghanistan and to confront international challenges, such as Syria; Russia's military aggression in Ukraine; and North Korea.

In responding to the threat posed by ISIL and foreign terrorist fighters, the United States and Australia are working together with an international coalition to degrade and defeat ISIL by providing military support to Iraq, cutting off ISIL's funding, countering its warped ideology, and stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters into its ranks. The United States and Australia are coordinating closely through the Global Counterterrorism Forum. Australia supported U.S.-drafted United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178, which condemns violent extremism and underscores the need to stem support for foreign terrorist fighters, and the two countries will work together toward its implementation. Additionally, together, we continue to provide critical humanitarian support to the victims of conflict in Syria and Iraq.

In Afghanistan, the United States and Australia have worked to together to enable the Afghan government to provide effective security across the country and develop the new Afghan security forces to ensure Afghanistan can never again become a safe haven for terrorists. The United States and Afghanistan will continue this close partnership, focused on the development and sustainment of Afghan security forces and institutions, after the combat mission ends in Afghanistan this year and the Resolute Support Mission begins.

The U.S.-Australian Force Posture Agreement, announced by the President and Prime Minister in June and signed in August, deepens our long-standing defense cooperation and the advancement of a peaceful, secure, and prosperous Asia-Pacific region. While implementing the force posture initiatives jointly announced in 2011, the United States and Australia continuously seek opportunities to strengthen our interoperability, coordination, and cooperation.

As Pacific nations, the United States and Australia share an abiding interest in peaceful resolution of disputes in the maritime domain; respect for international law and unimpeded lawful commerce; and preserving freedom of navigation and overflight. Both countries oppose the use of intimidation, coercion, or force to advance territorial or maritime claims in the East and South China Seas. In their June 2014 joint op-ed, the two leaders called on claimants to clarify and pursue claims in accordance with international law, including the Law of the Sea Convention, and expressed support for the rights of claimants to seek peaceful resolution of disputes through legal mechanisms, including arbitration, under the Convention. Both countries continue to call for ASEAN and China to reach early agreement on a meaningful Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

The United States and Australia are responding to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and supporting the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to accelerate measureable progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

The United States congratulates Australia as it nears the end of its two years on the United Nations Security Council, during which time Australia has been a powerful and important voice on a range of issues relating to international peace and security, especially the ongoing conflict in Syria and the global threat posed by terrorism.

Cooperation for Economic Growth and Prosperity

The United States and Australia share a commitment to deepening further economic ties, including by concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a high-standard, 21st century agreement that will promote economic growth and job creation in both countries and around the region. In January 2015, the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement will celebrate ten years of facilitating trade and investment between our two countries, having nearly doubled our goods trade and increased our services trade by more than 122 percent.

The United States remains the largest foreign investor in Australia, accounting for over a quarter of its foreign investment. The United States and Australia also work closely in multilateral institutions such as APEC to promote sustainable growth and shared prosperity in the region.

A vital aspect of economic growth is promoting greater gender equality. The United States and Australia are working together to enhance women's political and economic participation. As founding members of the Equal Futures Partnership, our two nations continue to collaborate to expand economic opportunities for women and increase women's participation in leadership positions in politics, civic society, and economic life.

The United States and Australia recognize the threat of climate change, including in the Pacific, and the need to take bold steps to boost clean energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and help ensure a successful and ambitious global climate change agreement in Paris next year. The United States underscored the importance of submitting ambitious post-2020 climate commitments for the new agreement as soon as possible and preferably by the end of March 2015. Both countries are collaborating with Pacific Island countries to promote sustainable development practices.

The President congratulated Prime Minister Abbott on the preparations for the G20 Summit, and noted he looks forward to the important and vibrant discussions ahead.

Science, Technology, and Innovation

U.S.-Australia science, technology, and innovation cooperation will strengthen our work on cutting edge issues, ranging from neuroscience to clean energy to information technology. Under the auspices of the U.S.-Australia Science and Technology Agreement, our two countries collaborate on clean energy, marine, and health research.

Through the Ambassador of the United States' Innovation Roundtables, the United States and Australia are creating an additional platform to leverage U.S.-Australia innovation partnerships and strengthen our interactions in innovative areas and promote a positive, future-oriented vision of our bilateral relationship.

The United States and Australia are two of the founding partners of the new $200 million Global Innovation Fund (GIF), which will invest in social innovations that aim to improve the lives of and opportunities for millions of people in the developing world.

People-to-People Ties

The U.S.-Australia Alliance is based on a long tradition of cooperation at all levels of government, business and civil society.

In partnership with the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and the Perth USAsia Centre at the University of Western Australia, the United States established the "Alliance 21 Fellowship," a three-year exchange of senior scholars and policy analysts that will further examine the shared interests and mutual benefits of the U.S.-Australia alliance through research and public engagement.

The United States and Australia form a partnership that is key to the future of both countries and peace and prosperity around the globe.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: The U.S.-Australia Alliance Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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