Updated: 08/13/2014 10:07 | By Agence France-Presse

Australia to join humanitarian airdrops in Iraq

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed Australian planes will join humanitarian airdrops in Iraq and did not rule out the possibility of greater military involvement. 


Australia to join humanitarian airdrops in Iraq

Australian PM Tony Abbott (L) walks with British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond (R) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, August 12, 2014 - by Justin Tallis

Abbott, speaking in London after security talks, said Canberra was in discussions with international partners on how to protect displaced Iraqi civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar by jihadist Islamic State militants.

"Australian aircraft will shortly be joining the humanitarian airlift and airdrop to the Mount Sinjar region and we are consulting with our partners including the United States, including the United Kingdom, about what further assistance Australia can give," he said late Tuesday.

Last week, the United States launched an air campaign to break the siege of Mount Sinjar, bring humanitarian relief to the Yazidis and support Kurdish troops protecting their capital Arbil.

Washington has ruled out sending US combat troops to the country, as has Britain, which has increased its support efforts and missions to supply humanitarian aid to refugees.

Asked whether Australia's efforts could include further military action by defence forces, Abbott said: "We certainly don't rule that out.

"We are talking to our partners -- and our partners, in this instance, are certainly much wider than simply the United States and United Kingdom -- but we are talking to our security partners about what we can usefully do to help," he said.

But he stressed that any involvement would be a humanitarian mission to protect those at risk from the "murderous hordes" of the Islamic State.

"There is a world of difference between getting involved to prevent genocide and the kind of involvement that we've seen in recent years by western countries in the Middle East... and no one should conflate the two," he said.

Abbott held talks in London with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and spoke on the telephone with Prime Minister David Cameron, although details of the discussions were not disclosed.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with their Australian counterparts in Sydney on Tuesday, with the issue of how Canberra could cooperate to help people in northern Iraq on the agenda.

Abbott said the timing of the Australian assistance on airdrops, likely to include the use of two aircraft stationed in the Middle East, was still being worked out. 

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。