US, Australia to increase Iraq police operations training

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Australia and the United States have struck an agreement to expand operations in Iraq, extending them from military to police force training.


Just hours after his new Government was sworn in, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met US Vice President Joe Biden in Sydney for talks canvassing regional tensions, terrorism, military engagement in Iraq and trade relations.


Mr Turnbull told reporters afterwards the existing mandate in Iraq only applied to military training.


He said one of the most important objectives in Iraq now was ensuring police could keep the peace in areas "liberated" from terrorist groups.


The joint media event was peppered with protestations of mutual affection, and Mr Biden admitted his praise for the relationship between the two nations was "almost corny".


"The Prime Minister and I reaffirmed our commitment to continue to work together to uphold the liberal international order that has served the world so well for the past 75 years," he said.


"And to maintain the free flow of trade in the air and on the sea, making sure the sea lanes are open and the skies are free for navigation."


Australia makes one of the largest contributions to the coalition fighting IS militants, including:


  • 300 people in the Building Partner Capacity mission at Taji training Iraqi Army personnel

  • The Special Operations Task Group comprising 80 people which provides advice and assistance to the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service

  • The 400-person Air Task Group which is conducting airstrikes, providing airborne command and control and refuelling capabilities against IS in Iraq and Syria


An extra 15 ADF personnel will be sent to Iraq, based at Camp Taji north of Baghdad, to take over artillery rocket and mortar operations from another group within the international Coalition forces.


Australians will also train Iraqi police, both local and federal, as well as border guards.


Australia, US present 'united front' over South China Sea


The face-to-face discussions also focused on tensions in the South China Sea and military efforts the nations were jointly taking to respond to any future challenges.


"We also discussed the steps that Australia and the United States are taking so our troops can train more together and increase our interoperability so we are fully prepared to respond to any challenges in the Pacific with a united front. It's important we stand together," Mr Biden said.


The comments follow the international court ruling that China did not have historical title over the sea. China has rejected the ruling and claims the court has no jurisdiction.


Mr Turnbull said the two nations continue to have the "strongest and most intimate collaboration in intelligence and security".


Vice President will bring 'Biden touch' to TPP talks


Mr Turnbull painted a rosy outlook for the future of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite increasing pessimism about the future of the agreement in the US along with a rising tide of anti-trade sentiment.


"We know that the Biden touch will deliver the TPP and that will be very important for economic growth in our region," Mr Turnbull said.


Mr Turnbull acknowledged there would be "political obstacles" to achieving the free trade deal but praised the "eloquence" and "wiles" of the Vice President in helping to shepherd it through.


"The economic partnership has never been so important," Mr Biden responded.


"We talked about the need for our two nations to continue to set the economic rules of the road with high standard trade agreements to protect the rights of workers, preserve the environment and uphold intellectual property rights."


-来自 ABC NEWS


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