Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Baghdad, Iraq; Taji, Iraq; Kabul, Afghanistan
On Tuesday 17 December 2019, the Governor-General, His Excellency the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), commenced a visit to Australian military and diplomatic personnel in the Middle East region, accompanied by General Angus Campbell AO DSC, Chief of the Defence Force, and Rear Admiral Mark Hill CSC RAN, Commander Joint Task Force 633. The Governor-General first travelled from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Baghdad, Iraq.
Upon arrival in Baghdad, the Governor-General was met by Her Excellency Dr Joanne Loundes, Ambassador to Iraq, and Colonel Matthew Cuttell, Defence Attaché, Iraq.
Afterwards, the Governor-General met with the Commander Special Operations Task Group 632 (SOTG632) and received a briefing on operations.
Later, the Governor-General had morning tea with Australian defence personnel from Special Operations Task Group 632.
Then, the Governor-General met with His Excellency Mr Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq at the Presidential Palace, Baghdad.
In the afternoon, the Governor-General, as guest of Ambassador Loundes, visited the Australian Embassy in Baghdad and met with staff.
Afterwards, the Governor-General travelled to the Taji Military Complex and was met by Colonel Nicholas Foxall, Commander of Task Group Taji. The Governor-General then received a briefing on the task group’s operations.
Later, the Governor-General met with Australian and New Zealand defence personnel from Task Group Taji. The Governor-General also took the opportunity to conduct promotions and present honours and awards to members of the task group.
In the evening, the Governor-General travelled from Taji to Kabul, Afghanistan. On arrival in Kabul, the Governor-General was met by His Excellency Mr Geoffrey Tooth, Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Brigadier Ed Smeaton, Commander of Task Group Afghanistan; and Colonel Daniel Bennett CSC, Defence Attaché, Afghanistan.