Australian PM visits Iraq, backs fight against IS
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly made a surprise visit to Baghdad for talks on helping Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
Melbourne: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly made a surprise visit to Baghdad for talks on helping Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
According to ABC news, Abbott met his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi to discuss Australian involvement in the fight against against the militant outfit.
Stressing on the Australia's commitment in the fight against the Jihadist group, he said, "We are determined to deepen our cooperation with the Government and the people of Iraq in the weeks and months to come, not because we are a country which goes forward, seeking foreign fights, but because where our vital national interests are threatened, where universal values are at stake, Australia should be a strong partner."
Australia is part of the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against IS in Iraq and has deployed special forces troops to assist in training the Iraqi Army.
Stating that the fight against the militants was "an important struggle" for the whole world, Abbott said "It's a struggle not just for the people of Iraq, and not just for the people of this region, but for the whole world - because the Daesh death cult, the ISIL death cult, has declared war against the world."
"We haven't just seen millions of people displaced, we haven't just seen tens of thousands of people killed here in Iraq; we haven't just seen the beheadings, the crucifixions, the mass executions and the sexual slavery here in Iraq, we have also seen exhortations from the death cult to people right around the world to engage in acts of terrorism, and even Australia has had its brush with terrorism in recent weeks."
"I want to thank President al-Abadi for the work that he is doing. He has an extraordinarily difficult job," he said.
The premier further said the people of Iraq are going through an extraordinarily difficult time but Australia is a friend of the Iraqi people.
He announced an extra USD 5 million humanitarian assistance for food aid, for people who were displaced by the conflict.