Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, attended a meeting of Defence Ministers today in Brussels
17th Feb 2017
Counter Daesh conference, NATO Head Quarters
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, attended a meeting of Defence Ministers today in Brussels to discuss progress in the coalition's military campaign to counter Daesh.
The Ministers reviewed the progress of the military campaign, which remains on track, and discussed next steps. After three months of operations to liberate Mosul, East Mosul is liberated and operations will commence shortly to liberate West Mosul, Daesh's last major stronghold in Iraq.
As Daesh continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, the Ministers discussed the importance of the coalition's efforts in tackling the threat of Daesh directed or inspired violent extremism around the world. Minister Payne emphasised the importance Australia places on countering extremism in Southeast Asia, particularly as Daesh’s losses in Iraq and Syria may lead to some foreign fighters returning to our region.
While in Brussels, Minister Payne also had a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis to discuss our mutual strategic interests including in Iraq, Afghanistan and the South China Sea. Minister Payne reiterated that the Australia-US Alliance is, and will continue to be, the Australian Government’s highest strategic policy.
Minister Payne also met with the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss our shared interests, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Australia is a leading contributor to the US-led coalition to counter Daesh. The ADF, operating as part of the broader US-led coalition, is providing support to the Iraqi Security Forces during the Mosul offensive, through the Air Task Group's air operations, and the Building Partner Capacity and Advise and Assist missions.