Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and Foreign Minister Marise Payne have reinforced Australia’s pledge to build a strong and lasting peace in the Middle East following the announcement of the withdrawal of US forces from Syria.
The joint statement said that the Australian government had been consulting closely with the US administration on the implementation of its recent announcement on Syria, and its long-term plans in Afghanistan.
Australia has been among the most steadfast of US security partners in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Australia’s serving men and women continue to play an important role in the security and development of both Iraq and Afghanistan, including training troops to make their communities safer.
Since 2001, the purpose of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan has been to support the Afghan government to help contain the threat from international terrorism.
Both the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh in Iraq and Syria continue to deny terrorist organisations safe havens in which to plan and export terror attacks across the globe, including to the Indo-Pacific. The ministers said Australia cannot be complacent about this threat, including the threat of resurgence by Daesh.
Along with international partners, including the US and NATO, Australia will continue to provide security, humanitarian and development assistance in the region, the statement said.
Australia last month reiterated its ongoing commitment to support Afghanistan’s transition to stability and self-reliance, and welcomed recent progress towards a political settlement. Like its coalition partners, Australia recognised that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
Australia also continues to contribute to the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh, which has made substantial and sustained progress to degrade and defeat Daesh in Syria and Iraq. Since 2011, the nation has committed $433 million in humanitarian assistance to Syrians displaced by the conflict.