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Iraq troop numbers ‘under review’: Bishop

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop arrives for a pre-CHOGM foreign ministers conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last Wednesday. EPA/M A Pushpa Kumara

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop arrives for a pre-CHOGM foreign ministers conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last Wednesday. EPA/M A Pushpa Kumara

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Australia’s commitment to the fight against Islamic State in Iraq is under review amid reports the government is set to send additional troops.

The ABC says the government is set to announce that hundreds more Australian troops will be sent to the strife-torn nation as part of a joint mission with New Zealand to train Iraqi soldiers.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced this week the deployment of 143 Kiwi personnel to Iraq.

‘This is likely to be a joint training mission with Australia, although it won’t be badged an ANZAC force,’ he said.

Australia already has 200 special forces soldiers in Iraq but Ms Bishop says the national security committee of cabinet is reviewing the commitment.

‘We have had our presence in Iraq under constant review to ensure that we’re achieving the best outcomes,’ she told Sky News.

Ms Bishop said no decision has been made and it’s up to Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make any announcements.

Mr Abbott is due to visit New Zealand later this week.


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