US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel arrived in Australia today to attend the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), to be held in Sydney tomorrow.
A US government jet touched down at Sydney Airport around 2pm and was greeted by NSW Premier Mike Baird, Australia’s ambassador to the US Kim Beazley, US ambassador John Berry and US consul-general Hugo Llorens.
Senator Kerry was escorted into the city by a 20-vehicle convoy (police motorcade and all), while the area surrounding the Intercontinental Hotel at Circular Quay was in lock-down, with sniffer dog teams and a considerable police presence.
“Defense Secretary Hagel touched down earlier, while Senator Kerry and Ms Bishop have arrived from Burma, where they both attended the East Asia Summit,” a spokesperson for the Minister for Foreign Affairs told Business Insider Australia.
“Bilateral issues, such as defence cooperation and military interoperability are some of the major topics that will be discussed during tomorrow’s meeting.”
AUSMIN is the principal forum for progressing bilateral cooperation on foreign, defence and strategic policy matters between Australia and the United States.
The two US delegates will meet with Bishop and Defence Minister David Johnston, ahead of tomorrow’s AUSMIN summit.
The Force Posture Agreement – which allows the US to bolster military assets in northern Australia – is expected to be signed, while further discussions surrounding the continuation of combined special forces training exercises will be addressed.
Secretary Kerry has been working hard to negotiate a lasting ceasefire between Hamas and Israel in the Middle East, while voicing concern over the growing conflict involving Russia and the Ukraine.
Tomorrow’s event marks the second with Secretary Kerry and Secretary Hagel, after the United States hosted the 2013 AUSMIN in the nation’s capital, Washington.
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