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Transcript of message to Australian troops serving in the Gulf.



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PRIME MINISTER

20 March 2003

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP MESSAGE TO AUSTRALIAN TROOPS SERVING IN THE GULF

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………….

As operations involving our Australian forces begin in Iraq, I’d like to say directly to all of you how much the men and women deployed in the Gulf region are very much in the thoughts of all Australians.

We’re thinking of you constantly and we’re doing our very best in different ways back home in Australia to care for and support your loves ones and try and begin to feel as they do.

You have been superbly trained for the tasks you are now undertaking. You belong to a great Australian tradition. Ours is a tradition where our military are only deployed for just causes.

The Government believes that not only is your cause just, it is completely legal and it is in the long term national interest of our country.

We do need to ensure that countries such as Iraq are not allowed to retain dangerous weapons. We have an interest as a peace loving nation in doing our bit to prevent the spread of dangerous weapons to other rogue states and thereby increase the risk of them coming into the hands of terrorists.

By pre-deploying you to the Gulf, you’ve been allowed the opportunity of acclimatising and getting ready for the task that lies ahead.

You go to your tasks, you go into operations with the united good wishes of all Australians. whatever may be the differences of view on other things, there is a united and passionate wish of success and of safety and of good fortune to all of you.

On behalf of a very proud nation I thank you for what you are doing in our name and for our future. We will continue to think of you and pray for you and look forward to your return home.

Thank you.

[ends]

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