Wallace welcomes Australian Deputy Prime Minister to UK with Guard of Honour

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Photographer: Cpl Tim Hammond Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

“The UK and Australia are the best of mates and for over a century we have been hard-headed champions of freedom and democracy.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and MP James Cleverly are meeting with their Australian counterparts as part of discussions held in the UK this week.

The Defence Secretary hosted a Guard of Honour made up of Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards and the Band of the Grenadier Guards for the Honourable Richard Marles MP, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Deputy Prime Minister Marles are in the UK for the annual meeting between ministers, which is dubbed “Aukmin”.

Australia and the United Kingdom share long-standing defence ties and are close allies and partners and they discussed ongoing collaboration over the AUKUS programme, war in Ukraine and ongoing security issues across the Indo-Pacific.

Mr Cleverly said:

“The UK and Australia are the best of mates and for over a century we have been hard-headed champions of freedom and democracy.

“In an increasingly volatile world, we are pursuing a forward-looking agenda with Australia as a trusted partner and friend.

“Together we are promoting prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific, boosting trade, and pursuing our vital climate targets.”

Image of The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP (left) and the Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles (right), seen here outside the Ministry of Defence HQ in Whitehall, London (01/02/2023). Photographer: Cpl Tim Hammond – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

Following bilateral talks today the group will also visit Salisbury Plain to see Australian and UK troops training Ukrainian soldiers.

The joint training programme, which also involves forces from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Lithuania, and the Netherlands, is part of an “acceleration of efforts” by the UK and allies to aid Ukraine in defeating the invading Russian force, according to officials.

According to the FCDO, ministers will gather for meetings at the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth to discuss long-term co-operation in the Indo-Pacific, as well as broader collaboration on climate, security and trade.

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