Foreign minister to affirm Australia’s position on nuclear non-proliferation in European meeting

By Jackson Graham

Friday December 10, 2021

Maris Payne-Nikos Dendias
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias (R) welcomes Australian Marise Payne (L) during their meeting in Athens, Greece, 08 December 2021. (EPA/Yannis Kolesidis)

Foreign minister Marise Payne has commenced a European tour of Greece, Belgium and Austria as she seeks to advance Australia’s relationship with senior officials of the nations. 

She will meet with her counterpart in Vienna, and discuss with the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Australia’s shared commitment to the integrity of the global non-proliferation regime. 

Australia’s AUKUS agreement for nuclear-powered submarines has been criticised as exploiting a loophole in the Non-Proliferation Treaty that could set a precedent for others with more dangerous intentions. 

But in Vienna, Payne will meet with Australian Dr Robert Floyd, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation executive secretary, to affirm Australia’s active commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and its contribution to multilateral co-operation. 

In Athens, Payne is due to meet the president, foreign minister and other senior representatives to discuss the two nations’ economic relationship, share strategic assessments and discuss gender equality. 

Payne is due to visit the Tomb of the Fallen Soldier to commemorate the sacrifice of those who fought for Australia and Greece during the World Wars, including the Battle for Greece. 

She is also due to meet with the Belgian Government in Brussels, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships. 

“We will discuss our common values such as democracy, protection of human rights and freedom of speech; our shared interests in the Indo-Pacific and our commitment to free trade and addressing climate change,” Payne said in a statement.


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