Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne visited Iraq and the United Arab Emirates to meet Australian troops as well as key leaders from both countries.
Minister Pyne visited Task Group Taji and Special Operations Task Group 632 in Iraq in order to thank the deployed service men and women for their work in assisting and building the Iraqi Security Forces.
“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."
Task Group Taji is a combined Australian and New Zealand unit that trains the Iraqi security forces, with nearly 40,000 personnel receiving instruction in the task force's history.
The Special Operations Task Group seeks to support the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service’s operations by providing advice, training and assistance in their fight against Daesh.
Minister Pyne also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, saying, "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 with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as well as Mohammed bin Ahmad al Bawardi, Minister of State for Defence, noting that 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," Minister Pyne said.
“We value the contributions made by the UAE to the fight against global terrorism.”