PM talks troops and Trump in Middle East
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has flagged a possible meeting with US President Donald Trump in the near future.
It’s believed a meeting is being planned to coincide with an event in New York on May 4 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
“Well, we’ll look forward to announcements being made in due course, but we’ve had very good meetings with Vice President (Mike) Pence and the Defence Secretary James Mattis just in the last few days,” Mr Turnbull said at an air base in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday where he had been visiting Australian troops.
“I look forward to continuing those discussions with President Trump and will do so at an early opportunity. But we’ll be making announcements very shortly about that.”
Meanwhile, Mr Turnbull also revealed Australian troops will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan for the long term.
“There is no doubt that in both theatres, there is going to need to be a long-term commitment,” he said.
“So it is going to be a long-term commitment and we’ll consider, with our allies, in these conflict areas, we’ll consider requests for further support. As it evolves, we’ll be looking at that.”
He said “defeating, smashing, destroying” the Islamic State group was vitally important to the security and safety of Iraq as well as Australia.
Central to this effort was supporting and training Afghan and Iraqi military and police security forces.
More than 1700 Australian Defence Force personnel are deployed in the Middle East, with about 750 in Iraq and Syria and 270 in Afghanistan.