Australia Commits Troops to Iraq War
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
CANBERRA, Australia -- Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Tuesday that Australian troops would join a U.S.-led war against Iraq, as requested by Washington.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. said the decision followed a Cabinet briefing and that the nation's military chiefs have been informed.
It wasn't known immediately how many troops would be involved or what military equipment, if any, would be supplied by Australia.
Howard said that the government "strongly believes that the decision it's taken is right, it is legal, it is directed towards the protection of the Australian national interest, and (I) ask the Australian community to support it."
The Cabinet met at 8:30 a.m. local time, just two hours after U.S. President George W. Bush called Howard to formally request Australian military support for the imminent attack.
Howard said that Bush "asked whether Australia would be part of the 'coalition of the willing' if it became necessary to finally use force against Iraq to enforce Iraq's obligations under previously passed Security Council resolutions."
According to the ABC, parliament is to debate the issue later Tuesday, when Howard will announce the government's legal advice on the war.
Copyright 2003 by United Press International.
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