- Foreign minister Julie Bishop met with Iraq officials in Baghdad to discuss Australian involvement in fight against Islamic State extremists
- In a press conference with her counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Ms Bishop again ruled out Australian boots on the ground
- This comes as Australia is still awaiting legal agreement with the new Iraqi government over the deployment of 200 special forces advisers
Leesa Smith for Daily Mail Australia
Australian Associated Press
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has again said Australia has no plans to send ground troops into Iraq.
Ms Bishop is in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi officials about Australia’s involvement in the fight against Islamic State extremists, and in a press conference with her counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari again ruled out boots on the ground.
‘We’ve not been asked and we’ve not offered to, so I do not envisage that being part of our arrangements with Iraq,’ she told reporters overnight in Baghdad.
Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari (right) welcomes his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop (left) in Baghdad
Ms Bishop (pictured with Mr al-Jaafari right) insists there are no plans for Australian troops on the ground in Iraq
Ms Bishop (left) and Mr al-Jaafari (right) in Baghdad
‘We will only provide assistance at the invitation of and with the consent of the Iraqi government.’
Australia has taken part in airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq but is still awaiting legal agreement with the new Iraqi government over the deployment of 200 special forces advisers.
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday that Australian special forces sent to Iraq haven’t been able to enter the country yet because the Iraqi government has not provided the necessary legal guarantees.
Mr Abbott said he wanted the same indemnity from prosecution under Iraqi law for 200 Australian special operations troops as American troops already had in Iraq.
The soldiers are being sent to advise and assist Iraqi security forces. They were sent a month ago to the United Arab Emirates at the request of the United States.
At the same time, Australia also sent six F/A-18F Super Hornet jet fighters.
The fighter jets were now flying almost daily combat missions against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq, Mr Abbott said.
Iraqi officials have repeatedly said that while the warplanes were welcome, foreign troops on the ground in their country were not.
Abbott said that objection to foreign troops was not an obstacle to the Australian military playing an advising and assisting role for Iraqi security forces.
Ms Bishop said at the press conference in Baghdad (pictured) that Australia had not offered or been invited to bring in ground troops to Iraq
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