Visit of M. Kader Arif, Minister in charge of Veterans’ Affairs at the Ministry of Defence (25 to 27 November 2013)
During his visit to Australia, the Minister met with Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC.
During a ceremony at Telopea Park School in Canberra, with the Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Minister unveiled a plaque commemorating the 30th anniversary of the agreement establishing a French-Australian school in Canberra.
A visit to the Australian War Memorial saw the Minister enter the ‘Hall of Memories’ where, accompanied by his Australian counterpart, he laid a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier, whose remains, buried at the Australian cemetery at Villers-Bretonneux in the Somme, were re-interned on the 11th of November 1993 in Canberra. This also gave the Minister an opportunity to meet with French war veterans.
Following the ceremony, the Minister paid his respects at the Roll of Honor, a wall which records and commemorates members of the Australian armed forces who have died during or as a result of war service, and was able to see the section dedicated to the Australian diggers who died on the Western Front during the Great War.
In Sydney, the Minister met with representatives of the French defence industry in Australia (EADS, Thales, DCNS, Safran, Dassault Systèmes) before meeting French ex-servicemen at the ANZAC memorial.
The Minister also met with the M. Michael Ronaldson, the Australian Minister for Defence.
During a meeting with the Atout France team, the Minister underlined the importance of memorial tourism next year.
The students of the Lycée Condorcet were able to interview the Minister for their school paper. Further, the Minister participated in interviews with representatives from AFP, the French newspaper Le Monde, and SBS French radio to underline the importance for France of the centenary of World War One commemorations due to take place next year.