Alexa

Iraq's al-Maliki visits Australia for talks on aid

Iraq's al-Maliki visits Australia for talks on aid

Iraqi Prime Minister Kamil al-Maliki on Thursday launched his first visit to Australia, where he will seek more aid for his war-torn country even as the Pacific nation makes plans to withdraw the last of its troops.
Al-Maliki received an official welcome from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and a military contingent in the national capital of Canberra before holding talks with Rudd and other top officials on trade, aid and security.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the visit marks a shift in relations between the two countries toward development aid and trade and away from military involvement.
Australia sent troops to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein's regime, but pulled out its 500 remaining combat troops in mid-2008 after Rudd, who opposed the invasion, was elected.
Smith told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that Australia would withdraw the remaining 120 Australian troops in the country soon because, "in the end, you can't have other forces in the country forever; there has got to be an exit strategy."


Updated : 2020-12-05 03:55 GMT+08:00