Australian military forces could be back in Iraq soon as a broad coalition is built to tackle Islamic State extremists.
Australian military forces could soon get the green light to join global action against Islamic State extremists in Iraq following talks at the United Nations in New York.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott held a series of meetings with the leaders of the United States, Jordan, France, Japan, Holland, Britain and Indonesia on Thursday.
He plans more talks before heading home to convene national security committee and cabinet meetings early next week.
Mr Abbott told the UN Security Council, which endorsed a resolution aimed at stemming the flow of Islamic State foreign fighters, Australia would be “utterly unflinching” towards any terrorist threats.
The federal government was now considering a military role in Iraq, he later told reporters.
“Things are hastening to certain probable conclusions,” Mr Abbott said.
Australia has yet to commit its RAAF Super Hornets and special forces advisers to a specific mission in Iraq, which are on standby at Camp Baird in United Arab Emirates.
The government is understood to have been reassured by the breadth of support for an international effort in Iraq, which could involve at least 26 countries including Muslim nations, to fight IS, or ISIL, militants which have carved out territory in the country’s north in a bloody campaign of terror against local populations.
Last week, Australian police uncovered an alleged IS-driven plot to abduct a member of the public and film them being beheaded.
King Abdullah of Jordan said the fight against extremism was “not an Arab or Muslim fight anymore”.
“It affects every delegate here and beyond. It is the fight of our times.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said IS was a “trans-national organisation” whose strength lay in international smuggling and financing networks.
Iraq has asked Australia to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and not interfere in internal affairs.
But the Iraqi government believes that with targeted air strikes, and training from coalition partners, its own security forces and tribal groups can defeat IS and recapture territory.
While the US and five Middle Eastern countries have conducted air strikes on IS targets in Syria, Mr Abbott said Australia had no intention of launching operations in that country.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the UNSC resolution would help “starve these terrorist organisations of funds, of fighters and of weapons”.
“This is an ongoing battle that will take months and years.”
In parliament, Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss was asked by the Australia Greens whether Australia’s role in Iraq would make it a greater terrorist target.
“There is a horror around the world at the present time, a horror that can be tolerated by none,” he said.
Terrorist attacks against Australians in Bali and US citizens in 2001 had occurred well before the current situation, he added.
Mr Abbott also played down reports that a man, 18, who was shot dead after stabbing two police officers in Melbourne, had made threats against him.
“I haven’t been officially briefed to that effect,” he said.