Army chiefs from 19 nations in secret Sydney meet
Reuters | August 14, 2007
Army chiefs from 19 nations, including the United States, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia held a secret meeting in Sydney in the lead-up to an Asia-Pacific summit, Australia's top soldier said on Tuesday.
The generals met at a Sydney hotel last week to discuss counter-terrorism, peacekeeping and other areas of joint concern such as disaster relief, Lieutenant-General Peter Leahy said.
"There's a lot going on in Sydney and we didn't want to make a fuss," Leahy told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio, citing security concerns for keeping the meeting secret.
The leaders of 21 nations, including U.S. President George W. Bush, Russia's Vladimir Putin, China's Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet in Sydney for the three-day APEC summit in early September.
The generals' meeting included U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey, Indonesian Army Chief General Djoko Santoso, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff General Ryoichi Oriki and Indian Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General Deepak Kapoor.
Leahy said Australia's military judged it better not to publicize the meeting during APEC security preparations, but said the talks should lead to better cross-military ties.
"You'll see more cooperation into the different armies to make sure that our soldiers are more culturally aware, linguistically attuned and able to deal in these very complex environments," he said.
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