Abbott On Iraq: 'Let’s Just Wait And See'

U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia meet with reportersin the Oval Office the White House. Photo: Ron Sachs – Pool/ Getty

As insurgents close in on Baghdad, Tony Abbott has remained tight-lipped on Australia’s position in response to the recent outbreak of violence in Iraq.

Whilst in Houston, Texas, Prime Minister Tony Abbott would not tell reporters what options were available to Australia in assisting the US if President Barack Obama responded to the new threat.

“Let’s just wait and see. This is a complex, difficult and developing situation,” he said.

“Let’s just wait and see what the appropriate response is and then there’ll be the sort of discussions that close allies have with each other and then we’ll take things forward.

“The group which is now apparently in control of large swathes of Iraq and parts of Syria is a group that was too radical for al-Qa’ida.

“They are an extremist splinter group from the most extremist terrorist group the world has seen, so let’s not underestimate just how serious this situation is.

“Let’s not underestimate what a humanitarian disaster for the people for Iraq this is, as well as what a threat to the security of the Middle East and the wider world this could turn out to be,” Abbott told a press conference in Houston.

Abbott is yet to state his position on whether Australian troops should be deployed.

While Obama has ruled out sending soldiers back into combat in Iraq, he is prepared to launch air attacks and has sent a US warship to the Persian Gulf.

“They will talk to us, we will talk to them, and let’s see what emerges,” Abbott said.

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