Minister for Defence, Senator David Johnston, is currently visiting Iraq and will then visit the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s in Australia’s best interests that we stand ready with the world – now in a coalition of more than 40 nations – to help the new Iraqi Government to disrupt and degrade the ISIL death cult and to regain control over its own country,” Senator Johnston said.
In Baghdad, Senator Johnston met with Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, and other senior government officials.
Senator Johnston will also meet senior US officials to discuss the situation in Iraq and reaffirm Australia’s commitment to disrupt and degrade the ISIL death cult.
In the UAE, Senator Johnston will meet with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and other national security officials, to discuss the situation in Iraq and regional states’ support to efforts to counter ISIL.
Senator Johnston will also reinforce Australia’s commitment to the bi-lateral defence relationship.
“Australia’s contribution to this international effort will be closely coordinated with the Iraqi government, regional nations and a broad coalition of international partners,” Senator Johnston said.
“There are at least 60 Australians we know are currently fighting with terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq and at least 100 Australians supporting them. More than 20 of these foreign fighters have already returned to Australia. Nothing can justify the actions of this ISIL death cult - like beheadings, crucifixions, mass executions, ethnic cleansing.”
“The Government will do whatever is possible to keep people safe. Our security measures at home and abroad are directed against terrorism, not religion, not any sector of the community,” Senator Johnston concluded.
Brad Rowswell (Minister Johnston’s Office) 0417 917 796
Rebecca Horton (Minister Johnston’s Office) 0477 389 554
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999