Here’s Abbott’s full statement:
The Government has decided to commence the preparation and training of a force to contribute to the international Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission in Iraq.
This decision marks the next phase of Australia’s contribution to the international coalition to disrupt, degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, or Daesh, and follows requests for our participation from the Iraqi and United States Governments.
Working together, the Iraqi security forces and their coalition partners have stemmed Daesh’s onslaught. Now Iraq’s security forces require international training support to conduct effective offensive operations against Daesh and ultimately to take responsibility for their country’s security.
The Australian BPC force would be based at Taji, northwest of Baghdad, and the mission is expected to commence in May 2015.
The Australian contribution would include around 300 ADF personnel centred on a training team. The force would also comprise a substantial force protection element along with command and support elements.
This initial step of preparing the BPC force will enable the Australian Defence Force to commence planning, preparation and administration for the mission.
Australia’s participation in this mission would build on the active contributions of our Air Task Group and Special Operations Task Group to international efforts to counter Daesh in Iraq.
The Government will keep under review the size and nature of Australia’s commitment in Iraq, taking into account the increasing focus of coalition efforts on building the capacity of Iraq’s security forces.
The Australian BPC force would work closely with personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force who will be involved in the international BPC mission, which also includes forces from the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The decision to prepare for the BPC mission underlines Australia’s commitment to supporting stability in Iraq and the Middle East and helping to stop the spread of violent extremism to Australia and our own region.
This decision is in Australia’s national interest.
Recent attacks in Australia and elsewhere around the world show that no country is immune from the threat of terrorism.
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