JULIE BISHOP: On behalf of the Australian Government, I congratulate Prime Minister Al-Abadi and the people of Iraq on the defeat of ISIS and the liberation of Iraqi people from its brutal rule.
This remarkable effort was supported by Coalition forces and resources.
We are mindful of the great sacrifice made by Iraq through its many civilian and military casualties and the terrible economic and social costs of the conflict.
Australia, with New Zealand, contributed to the destruction of ISIS, with our continuing joint Building Partner Capacity mission at Taji delivering training to about 30,000 members of the Iraq Security Forces and police.
Our Special Operations Task Group continues to provide ‘Advise and Assist’ support to Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service.
Australian aircraft flew over 2,700 air strike sorties in Iraq and Syria.
However, the fight against ISIS is not yet over.
Australia is strongly committed to this Coalition and to the final phases of eradicating ISIS to ensure it cannot return.
To break the cycle of violence, it is vital that the Iraqi government wins the peace as effectively as it has won the war.
There must be a commitment to the rule of law, so that all citizens feel their interests are protected and supported by the government.
Failure to do so runs the very real risk that they will turn to armed groups that could morph into ISIS 2.0.
All communities, including minorities, must be protected from and reject sectarian violence.
Iraq is a great and potentially wealthy nation, populated by a wonderfully diverse people. All must share in its future prosperity.
There will be increased economic activity from the stability of the post-ISIS era and that will create jobs essential for the successful demobilisation of armed forces.
We trust that Australia’s recent commitment of $100 million for humanitarian and stabilisation support accelerates recovery, reconciliation and inclusive governance.
The dispersal of foreign fighters to their home countries and elsewhere in Africa, Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia is of deep concern.
In Syria, some ISIS fighters remain in contested or ungoverned regions from where they continue to menace Iraq and to inspire attacks globally.
We were most profoundly disturbed by the seizure of the Philippines city of Marawi by ISIS-aligned militants.
Australia contributed intelligence collection to support the Philippine military campaign and we have committed $24 million for humanitarian relief, support for reconciliation and to weaken the appeal of extremist propaganda.
Australia will step up our fight against ISIS and other extremist groups in partnership with South East Asian nations through intelligence sharing, police and military training and law and justice reforms.
This Coalition is also engaged with the global network of countries working to challenge ISIS’ ideology of hate, and it is vital that we work together constructively.
All nations must take steps to address socio-economic challenges, reduce tolerance of extremist ideologies, strengthen governance, and ensure citizens have access to justice.
Under the Guiding Principles, we must focus on the conditions that led to the rise and spread of ISIS and its extremist ideologies and prevent them gaining the momentum that brought this Coalition together in 2014.
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