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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) Good morning, it is Thursday,

the 19th of February, I am Joe

O'Brien. I am Virginia Trioli.

The top story on ABC News

Breakfast. A retire the

Australian general who helped

command Coalition forces in

Iraq says Australia should be

prepared to commit more troops

to Afghanistan. Retired

General Jim Molan was speaking after US President Barack Obama

said he was sending an extra

17,000 soldiers. President

Obama wants a stronger

commitment from NATO countries

and other close allies,

Australia has 1,000 troops in

Afghanistan, but is so far not

offering anymore. A - aNATO

Defence Ministers are gathering

in Poland and Joel Fitzgibbon, Australia's defence minister

joins us now on the phone. If I

can apologise in advance for

any background noise, I'm in a

security motorcade in the heart

of Krakov Poland there. Is not

much I can do that I'm ore.

That's fine, because you are

attending that NATO meeting and

overnight possibly when you

were on the plane retired General Jim Molan made that

observation he thinks

Afghanistan can be won, the

security situation can be

tamped down in that country, if

the NATO countries, and

Australia commit more troops.

What's your view? We all of

course hope we can meet with

success in Afghanistan and I

have the upmost respect for

what Jim Molan has to say. He

is obviously a very experienced

in these matters. And he is

absolutely correct to say that

success will only come with

significant additional troop

numbers. On that basis the US

announcement was very timely,

occurring just head of

tomorrow's summit, our time.

It will act to energyise the

summit but will also act to put

pressure on those uncommitted

NATO countries to do more

themselves. Your position

hasn't changed.

Notwithstanding what

Major-General Jim Molan is

saying. You are still

committed to four key points

having to be met, and in

particular more of a commitment

by other NATO countries before

Australia will commit more

troops. That's your unchanged

position? Well, first of all

this is where Jim and I might

differ just a little. There is

no point in pointing in

additional troops just for the

sake of it. Australia could

double its troop numbers tomorrow, and without additional significant

contributions from others it

would make no difference. And

indeed without some real

strategic mean ing it would

make no difference. So nothing has changed for the Australian

Government. We have always

said this is not about num

Erics, but it is about ensuring

that before we even consider

doing more that those NATO countries, which I believe are

under committed, are prepared

to do more. In addition to that

ensuring that there is a new

political, civil and military

strategy for better success.

Again, a strategic

justification for doing more

and I have always said probably

most important of all, we

always apply rigorous and

robust risk analysis. We want

to make sure that anything we

might do in addition meeting

our risk assessment needs. But

surely the most - the clearest

strategic plan and strategic

success, and example has been

in the surge in Iraq. So when

vastly more troops were

committed in that country the

security situation turned

around v very, very quickly.

Isn't that the best example.

Isn't that the example here to

follow in Afghanistan? Well

you have got to be a bit

careful. Iraq and Afghanistan

are very different places.

However it is true that the

surge was successful in Iraq

and it's clear one of the very

important parts of a new

formula is significant

additional troop numbers.

There is no doubt about that.

I said that the announcement by

the timely in that it will put

pressure on NATO nations to do

more. And of course I don't

believe our allies will be

turning it first-hand to

Australia, because one, we are

not a NATO country, but two, we

are certainly not

undercommitment. We are

punching above our weight. We

are the largest non-NATO

contributor and I think we will

be doing more than our

share, Do you think you will be

leave anything NATO - leaving

this NATO meeting with a

commitment from NATO countries to a commitment with

Afghanistan. Is that a like

outcome? The additional troop

commitments won't necessarily

come tomorrow. But as I move

amongst my European partners I

do sense a mood change since

the change of the

administration in the United

States of America. These

countries need to - like us -

need to be able to taken their constituencies with them and I

think the election of Barack

Obama has sort of given new

confidence within those

constituencies that success can

be achieved. And on that basis

I think you will find a number

of those European nations now

prepared to do more. How much

more, we don't yet know. But I think they will be prepared to

do more. You said yesterday

that Australia had received no

formal request for more troops.

I am just wondering what

informal conversations may have

been held. No, neither the

PM nor I, nor minister Smith

have had any even informal

conversations with any of our

counterparts. The media for

some time now has been sort of

revving this idea up, that we

will be asked to do more. And

look, we may be. But I am very

confident that we will be well

down the queue. I know that

from talking to my counterparts, secretary Gates

on a wrecklar basis, and -

regular basis, and indeed his

uniform people, they are very

appreciative of what we do.

They know we are making a substantial contribution for a

non-NATO country. They know we

have capacity constraints,

given in places like East Timor

as well. So I don't believe we

will be at the top of the list

as the new US administration

looks to countries do more.

Minister fits gibyon, finally

in Afghanistan our 1,100 troops

are there for quite some time

to come are we? I believe so.

won't meet that challenge There's a huge challenge and we

without a properly co-ordinate

ed resource, military and civil

and political effort. No-one

expects we will meet with

success there any time soon T

is important all of the

partners acknowledge that and

make a long-term commitment.

So are we talking years? I'm

sorry, years? Yes, of course

the reality is we are talking

years. How many years we don't

know, because, one, we don't

yet now how much will there is

among the NATO partners to

achieve success. And I will

hopefully have a better feel

for that after tomorrow's

summit. We don't know how much

yet people are prepared to

properly resource and

co-ordinate those military,

civil and political plan s I

was talking about. Until we

have a better idea of that, it

is really difficult to assess

how long it will take. Thanks for joining us this morning.