Israel and Australia Strengthen Economic Ties

YERUSHALAYIM -
Minister of Yerushalayim Affairs Zeev Elkin (Likud), one of four ministers opposing Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s new policy on the Palestinians. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
Minister of Yerushalayim Affairs Zeev Elkin (Likud), one of four ministers opposing Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s new policy on the Palestinians. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

Environment Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg met this week in Canberra, Australia, to discuss future cooperation between Israel and Australia in the field of environment.

Israel and Australia have longtime cultural and economic ties. The two countries also cooperate in the international arena. In this forum, the two ministers agreed that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation, with many environmental impacts, as well as the economic and social effects. The ministers exchanged views about international cooperation and reviewed the steps that each country is taking toward significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The ministers expressed their willingness to cooperate in projects in which each party will bring to the table its comparative advantages, such as Israel’s experience in cleantech and water technologies, and especially Australia’s experience in a variety of instruments for energy savings, including in the transport sector. Minister Frydenberg instructed the CEO of his office to work vigorously to promote the signing of bilateral cooperation that will ensure that the ministers will meet again to sign an agreement before the end of 2016.

During their meeting, Minister Elkin raised the subject of the Climate Change Convention. Currently, Israel only has observer status, but full membership will reflect Israel’s commitment to the convention and help it achieve the objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions it has undertaken. Thus, Elkin asked Frydenberg to assist in upgrading Israel’s status as an observer to a permanent member.

Permanent members of the convention are the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the chairman is Australia, thus it is in its jurisdiction to promote the request of Elkin with the other members.

The two ministers agreed that their ministries will promote cooperation between the two countries in the field of environment, which is to be signed later this year, probably during a reciprocal visit of the Australian minister to Israel.

Before meeting with Minister Frydenberg, Elkin met with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who had recently visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu during her visit. At his meeting with Bishop, Elkin raised the burning political issues on the agenda, including the meeting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to arrange between Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas in Russia, the situation in Syria and tensions on the northern border of Israel.

During his visit, Elkin met with Australian Jewish community leaders.