Australian PM Morrison Says Not Withdrawing Troops From Iraq

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Concerns have risen recently about the situation in the Middle East after Iran conducted airstrikes against US military facilities in Iraq as “revenge” for killing its top military commander Qasem Soleimani. The tensions, however, have de-escalated after President Trump did not announce any retaliatory military action against Iran.

Australian premier Scott Morrison has announced he is not going to withdraw troops from Iraq and that Australia will continue its mission in the country, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

“Our goal remains a united, stable Iraq and the focus of our efforts is countering Daesh* and its support network. That remains our mission and we remain tasked to that mission as our people there in the Middle East are pursuing, Morrison said in an address from Canberra cited by Australian SBS News.

He added that no Australian personnel was killed or injured in Iran’s attack on the US military bases in Iraq. About 300 Australian troops and defence staff are now deployed in the country, the outlet said.

“Australia wants to see and has encouraged restraint and de-escalation and I welcome President [Donald] Trump’s statement overnight”, Morrison said, referring to the US president’s address to the nation on Wednesday morning.

The premier also said that an Australian naval vessel would travel to the Strait of Hormuz this week as planned for shipping protection in the region, according to Reuters.

On early…

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