Top Iraqi applauds Australia

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Ahmad Chalabi told ABC-TV the 450-strong Australian military contingent was doing excellent work and had the best record in keeping participants safe.

“I think that the longer that Australia will participate in this coalition, the better it is,” Mr Chalabi, president of the Iraqi national congress, said. “I think they should participate until the end.

They wanted Australian troops to remain past Christmas if the handover to an Iraqi civilian administration did not go ahead as scheduled on June 30.