Prime Minister Tony Abbott says meetings with world leaders will inform his government’s decision on sending troops to fight terrorist group Islamic State.
Cabinet is yet to make a decision on committing Australian troops to Iraq but Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it’s a strong probability.
However, he says Australia has no intention at this stage of joining US and Middle Eastern countries in holding air strikes in Syria.
Mr Abbott has spoken with several world leaders attending a United Nations meeting about events in the Middle East and the fight against terrorist group Islamic State.
“The discussions that I’m having here in New York today and tomorrow will help to inform the decision that Australia must soon take about whether to commit our forces to combat operations inside Iraq,” he told reporters in New York.
He’s met with the leaders of Indonesia, Jordan, Japan, France, the UK, the US and the Netherlands and will later meet Turkey’s president.
While cabinet still needs to make a final decision, Mr Abbott says “things are hastening to certain probable conclusions” and Australia wants to be helpful in the fight against IS.
The prime minister said it was important the federal cabinet fully discuss the weighty matter of committing Australian forces to combat operations.
He noted there had already been lengthy cabinet discussions about providing humanitarian assistance and weapons deliveries in Iraq.
“I stress that Australia has not even made a formal decision to commit to combat operations inside Iraq let alone elsewhere,” Mr Abbott said.
“We have no intention at this point of seeking to enter into combat operations in Syria.”