Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer
Minister for Defence Peter Reith
Joint Statement Announcing Resumption of Links with Pakistan
September 21, 2001

We are today jointly announcing the Government’s decision to lift the measures adopted against Pakistan following its nuclear tests in May 1998, which suspended defence relations between the two countries.

Last week’s terrible acts in New York and Washington demonstrated graphically the pressing need for the international community to make a strong and united effort to combat terrorism. The Government of Pakistan has taken a forthright, front-line stand in support of international anti-terrorist efforts. Australia warmly welcomes this. Our decision to lift the measures is one way of demonstrating Australia’s support for Pakistan’s stand against terrorism at this critical time.

In practical terms, the Government’s decision enables the defence establishments of the two countries to re-establish their links. This is absolutely vital in current circumstances. Pakistan has agreed to the return of an Australian Defence Attache to Islamabad.

The Government’s decision also lifts the suspension of non-humanitarian aid, but in current circumstances it is appropriate that Australia’s development cooperation program with Pakistan continue to focus on humanitarian assistance.


©2001 Commonwealth of Australia.