Mattis, Australian Defense Minister Confer in Brussels
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis expressed his admiration of the high-performing troops of the Australian armed forces during a meeting with his Australian counterpart, Defense Department spokesperson Navy Cmdr. Sarah Higgins said.
Mattis and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne met on the margins of a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels of defense ministers from countries participating in the campaign to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Higgins said.
Mattis is on a multiday trip to Europe to meet with international partners in the counter-ISIS campaign and is scheduled to speak at the Munich Security Conference in Germany today.
The defense secretary also thanked the minister for the long-term alliance and friendship between the U.S and Australia’s military and people, she said. This was the first meeting between an Australian cabinet official and a member of the new U.S. administration, the commander noted.
Efforts to Defeat ISIS
The two leaders discussed efforts to defeat ISIS in the Middle East and around the globe, as well as the importance of continued support to the government of Afghanistan, Higgins said.
They also exchanged views on the Asia Pacific region, she added, and reaffirmed their commitment to force posture initiatives in northern Australia.
Mattis and Payne noted their commitment to NATO and to further strengthening defense cooperation between the U.S. and Australia, Higgins said. Both leaders, she added, are looking forward to the Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations to be hosted by Australia later this year.