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Scott visits Australian troops in Middle East.

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1 August 2002

Scott visits Australian Troops in Middle East Chairman of the Defence Sub Committee, Federal Member for Maranoa, Bruce Scott today said he was extremely impressed with the conduct and operations of Army, Navy and Air Force troops in the Middle East.

Mr Scott was part of a delegation from the Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, which has just returned from an 8 day visit with Australian troops deployed on active duty in the Persian Gulf, Krygyzstan and Afghanistan.

Mr Scott said the visit was a remarkable opportunity to meet with the soldiers, sailors and airmen involved in operations.

“This visit has enabled the Government to better understand the nature of the operations in which the troops are engaged, and to appreciate the circumstances and environments in which they are operating,” Mr Scott said.

“We return with the utmost admiration for the capacity and commitment of the Australian service men and women involved in these operations. They are working in dangerous and hostile environments and in oppressive climatic conditions (daily temperatures in Kuwait and the Gulf during our visit were in excess of 50°).

“We have been privileged to undertake this visit and to express the Commonwealth Parliament’s strong bipartisan support for the important work being undertaken by the Australian forces deployed in all of these theatres.”

The program has involved:

• visits to Camp Doha, North of Kuwait City, to meet with Australian service personnel; • visits to, and overnight stays on, the HMAS Arunta and the HMAS Melbourne deployed in the Persian Gulf as part of the Maritime Interception Force to enforce United Nations sanctions against the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein;

• a visit to Manas Airfield in Bishkek, Krygyzstan to meet with Air Force personnel providing air-to-air refuelling support for operations in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces; and a visit to Bagram, Afghanistan to meet with Special Forces troops conducting operations in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces.