CANBERRA, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government on Sunday congratulated the Iraqi government and people for liberating the entire nation from the control of Islamic State (IS) after the Iraqi government's announcement.
In a joint statement made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne, they said that pushing IS out of Iraq was no small feat, and while the liberation had come at a "great cost," Iraqi forces should be proud of their achievements.
"The Australian Government congratulates the people of Iraq after Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi today announced that all areas of Iraq have been liberated from ISIS control," the joint statement said.
"We congratulate the Iraqi Security Forces for their courage and determination in defeating this national, regional and international threat. The liberation of Iraqi cities and towns from ISIS control has saved countless lives and ended a pattern of terror, anguish and murder.
"Their bravery in the face of unimaginable brutality has made the region and the world a safer place by robbing terrorists of their narrative of invincibility. The Government of Iraq is to be congratulated on forcing, in recent weeks, such a rapid collapse of ISIS forces," the statement read.
Turnbull and his cabinet ministers also paid tribute to the Australian forces in the region. A number of Australian ground and air forces have been training local defence personnel for the fight against the terrorist group.
"We recognize the contribution our Australian troops have made," the statement said. "We thank them for the vital role they played in supporting the Iraqi Security Forces to liberate Iraq."
However, Turnbull said while the Iraqi government's announcement was a "historic moment," the liberation of Iraq "does not mean the fight against terrorism and ISIS in Iraq is over."