Australia commits to Asian security

Nov. 20, 2009 at 1:46 PM
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CANBERRA, Australia, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The Australian government is committed to tackling the broad security challenges presented by the multiple threats in Central Asia, s defense minister said.

Australian Defense Minister John Faulkner in an address to lawmakers said the security challenges of the 21st century required new partnerships in order to succeed.

"They are not problems any nation can find security from in isolation," he said. "They are not problems any one nation can address alone."

Faulkner pointed to a 2009 white paper that said the Australian military must stand ready to address threats in the broader Central Asian region and in the South Pacific, adding the commitment to the international effort in Afghanistan is consistent with that vision.

The defense minister said his country has pledged more than 1,500 troops to Afghanistan but stressed the commitment in Afghanistan was linked to the abilities of the Kabul government.

"(Afghans) need confidence in their own institutions of government and in their own security forces," he said.

Turning to Pakistan, Faulkner pointed to a pledge to provide Islamabad with $120 million in developmental assistance during the next two years as a sign of the broad-based effort to tackle the many problems in the region.

On the Iranian nuclear threat, the defense minister called on Tehran to "immediately" suspend its enrichment activity and cooperate "fully" with the international inspection regime.

"The security challenges of the South Asian crescent are unquestionably complex," he concluded. "There is no single, simple approach or solution."

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