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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 7) - The United States is close to an agreement to build a major military training center on Australian soil.

The joint training center was discussed at a meeting in Singapore between the U.S. Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, and Australia's Defense Minister, Robert Hill.

An in-principle agreement could be signed at annual ministerial talks in Washington next month.

Senator Hill says the U.S. would spend tens of millions of dollars to upgrade an existing training ground in the state of Queensland or the Northern Territory.

The joint center would be used by Australian and U.S. forces for air, land and sea exercises.

Senator Hill says the U.S. would not pre-position equipment at the center and it would not be termed a U.S. base.

June 7, 2004

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra


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