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Department of Defence
Media Release


11/05/2009 MECC 155/09

MSPA 155/09                                                                                 Monday, 11 May 2009




Defence will conclude its military commitment to the rehabilitation of Iraq on 31 July 2009 marking the end of a mission that commenced on 20 March 2003.


Following the withdrawal of Australian combat troops in 2008 and the relocation of the Australian National Headquarters from Baghdad, Australia’s commitment to Operation CATALYST has consisted of personnel employed in non-combat roles within coalition headquarters.  In 2009, there have been around 45 such personnel deployed in Iraq.


The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said Australia could take great pride in the enduring contribution that the Australian Defence Force had made to the future of Iraq.


“Australian troops have provided important support to security and stabilisation operations, and have been responsible for the training of approximately 33,000 Iraqi Army soldiers, including specialist training in logistics support and counter-insurgency operations,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.


The cessation of Operation CATALYST does not include 100 ADF personnel providing protection for Australian diplomatic staff and the Australian embassy in Baghdad under Operation KRUGER, nor two ADF officers serving with the UN assistance Mission for Iraq under Operation RIVERBANK.


“The Australian Defence Organisation greatly appreciates the support and assistance received from coalition partners and the people and Government of Iraq during the ADF’s deployment on Operation CATALYST,,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.


“The Australian Government, and the Department of Defence in particular, look forward to maintaining a strong and robust Defence Cooperation Program with Iraq into the future.”


Media contact:


Defence Media Liaison (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664


Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999 Fax: 02 6265 6946
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