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ADF continues to assist Iraqis beyond handover.



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Media contacts Catherine Fitzpatrick (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7800 0405 351 245

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

www.defence.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Monday, 28 June 2004 124/2004

ADF CONTINUES TO ASSIST IRAQIS BEYOND HANDOVER

Defence Minister Robert Hill has welcomed today’s handover of sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government.

“This is a significant milestone in the transition towards a fully representative, elected Iraqi government,” Senator Hill said.

“I congratulate the Iraqi people for their courage and persistence in the face of saboteurs who oppose their aspirations for a secure, stable, prosperous and democratic country.”

Senator Hill said there had been great progress in restoring essential services and rebuilding institutions in Iraq since the end of major combat operations last year. However the current ministries and security forces continued to need significant coalition support to ensure the interim government could function effectively in a

secure environment.

“The Australian Defence Force is playing a crucial role in helping to provide security to the Iraqi people and shares the key task of training a new professional Iraqi Defence Force free from the corruption of the past,” Senator Hill said.

“The Howard Government is committed to our air traffic controllers, sailors, security detachment, intelligence officers, headquarters staff, trainers, pilots and ground crew remaining until their job is done.

“Following the handover, our military personnel will continue to undertake their duties with operational control passing from the current United States-led command to the new Multinational Force.

“All Australians should be proud of the on-going achievements of the ADF on this and other operations around the world.

“The training, professionalism and dedication of the ADF is world class and our continuing involvement in regional and wider operations is testament to the high regard in which the ADF is held.”