Visit to Iraq and the UAE

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The Hon Christopher Pyne MP

Minister for Defence

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16 January 2019

Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, visited the Middle East on 14-15 January to meet Australian troops and key leaders in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.

In Iraq, Minister Pyne visited Task Group Taji and Special Operations Task Group 632 to thank deployed servicemen and women for the work they are doing to assist and build the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces.

Task Group Taji is a combined Australian-New Zealand training unit. It provides the Iraqi Security Forces with training at the Taji Military Complex 20km north of Baghdad. Nearly 40,000 Iraqi Army and Police personnel have been trained by the Task Group.

The Special Operations Task Group supports the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service’s operations against Daesh by providing advice, training and assistance.

“Australia remains a steadfast member of the Global Coalition against Daesh and we will continue to work closely with Coalition partners and the wider international community to counter Daesh and address the threat of foreign fighters,” Minister Pyne said.

“Building the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces is a vital contribution to that effort."

While in Iraq, Minister Pyne met with Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi.  During their meeting, Minister Pyne said Australia was pleased with its long-standing efforts to support Iraq, both to defeat Daesh and to assist with Iraq’s recovery.

In the UAE, Minister Pyne met his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of  the UAE Armed Forces; and His Excellency Mohammed bin Ahmad al Bawardi, Minister of State for Defence.  Minister Pyne said the meetings were great opportunities to reaffirm and build upon the partnership between Australia and the UAE.

“Our relationship is underpinned by common interests, shared security challenges, and extensive trade relations.

“We value the contributions made by the UAE to the fight against global terrorism.”

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