Australia’s Prime Minister has warned the United States that it must not become “a hostage to terrorist groups” as it grapples with an increase in the number of Australians killed by militant groups in Iraq and Syria.
Key points:Prime Minister Tony Abbott has accused the US of playing down Australia’s military role in counter terrorism exercisesThe US has been criticised by the international community for its reluctance to join the fight against Islamic StateThe US President Donald Trump has been critical of Australia’s role in the fightagainst Islamic State, saying the nation is not doing enough to stop attacks.
“We have been told by the US that they’re not going to join us in the war against ISIS,” Mr Abbott said on Sunday.
“And now they’re going to have to come to terms with that fact.”
Mr Abbott, speaking at a news conference with US President John Trump, accused the United State of playing “down the importance” of Australia in the anti-IS campaign.
“I think the United Kingdom and other countries in the region are looking at Australia and their contribution to the counter-IS coalition,” Mr Trump said.
“Australia is a very important ally, a very valuable partner and we should all be grateful that we are a part of the counter terrorists campaign.”
Mr Trump also criticised the United Nations for not acting more forcefully to condemn the atrocities being committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
“They have done a lot of good things but I think they’ve been very slow in their response,” Mr Trudeau said.
Mr Trump said Australia should play a bigger role in confronting ISIL.
“The United States has taken a lot from Australia, a lot, and they’ve got to be a part,” Mr Cruz said.
Australia is one of the few countries left in the Middle East that has not committed troops to the fight.
But the White House has been less than supportive of Australia, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling a Senate panel on Wednesday that the country is not going far enough.
“It is not clear to me that the United states has a clear strategy and it is not certain that we have a coherent strategy,” he said.
In an interview with the ABC on Thursday, Mr Pompeo said it was not clear the United Sates involvement in the coalition is “sufficient”.
“I’m not convinced that we’re going as far as we need to,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“If we’re just going to sit back and let this play out, that’s not going be the case.”‘
Not going far’US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said the United nations mission in Iraq would remain focused on the fight in Syria.
“There is a lot that’s going on, a great deal of progress and there are challenges,” he was quoted as saying.
“But at the same time there is a great emphasis on getting the coalition moving, getting the troops in place, and getting the pressure on ISIL.”ABC/wiresTopics:terrorism,terrorism-actions,foreign-affairs,foreignpolicy,government-and-politics,afghanistan,afr,arabia,syria,united-statesMore stories from Australia