Anthony Albanese meets with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for first time
Anthony Albanese has met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the first time since the federal election.
Mr Johnson congratulated the Australian Prime Minister on his win at their sideline meeting at the NATO security summit in Madrid on Wednesday evening (AEST).
Mr Albanese, a devout Sydney Rabbitohs supporter, gifted Mr Johnson a jacket from the NRL team as they posed for photos before the two men sat down at a table in front of news cameras.
“Wonderful to see you here at NATO. What a progressive development for our alliance that is,” Mr Johnson said.
“Thank you particularly for the incredible strength Australia has shown in Ukraine. You really stepped up to the plate.”
Mr Albanese thanked Mr Johnson in return and said it was “very good to be here at NATO”.
“We are very proud, we are the largest non-NATO contributor (to Ukraine) … $285 million in military support and $65m in humanitarian support, as well,” he said.
Mr Albanese described Russia as an “authoritarian state seeking to impose its will by force” which would have “implications in other parts of the world”.
Mr Albanese reaffirmed his commitment to the AUKUS security alliance signed in 2021 between Australia, the UK and the US under the Morrison government.
Labor supported the signing of the pact at the time.
Mr Albanese told Mr Johnson he wanted to see the planned Australia-UK free trade agreement come into force by the end of the year.
The rest of the two leaders’ exchange wasn’t captured on camera, but Mr Albanese’s parliamentary office released a readout of the conversation.
It said the pair discussed the security situation in Europe and reaffirmed their resolve to support Ukraine in the face of Russia’s illegal invasion.
The two men spoke about the importance of “common action in all regions” including the Indo-Pacific, according to the readout, including to stand up for global rules and sovereignty.
They also discussed the current serious challenges to the global economy and their shared commitment to act on climate change.
Mr Johnson and Mr Albanese are in the Spanish capital to take part in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, bringing together the leaders of the North American and European nations which make up the security alliance.
Australia is deemed a “permanent observer” of NATO rather than a formal member of the group.
Mr Albanese was invited to this week’s summit as part of the first formal Asia Pacific delegation to attend the meeting.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the expanding influence of an increasingly belligerent China are expected to dominate discussions during the summit.
Mr Albanese on Wednesday said the NATO leaders had gathered to promote peace and security.
“We are united against Russia’s invasion which is causing devastation in Ukraine and adding to rising cost of living pressures around the world,” he wrote on social media.
Originally published as Anthony Albanese meets with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for first time
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