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We'll assess any more troops request: PM

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February 17, 2017

The defence minister says Australia will consider requests to boost its military commitment on merit

As the Trump administration prepares to hit the accelerator in the war against Islamic State, Defence Minister Marise Payne insists Australia will consider any request to boost its military commitment on merit.

Senator Payne met NATO defence ministers in Brussels to discuss progress in the Middle East on Thursday.

She was the first Australian minister to get face time with a US counterpart from the Trump administration - US Defence Secretary James Mattis.

A new US strategy to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria, being developed by the Pentagon on the instructions of President Donald Trump, is expected to be finalised in the next two weeks.

Mr Mattis did not make any requests of allies related to the new plan during the meeting, Senator Payne said.

Efforts to take back the Iraqi city Mosul had been a "solid slog" and when that succeeded, the focus would shift to a stabilisation phase.

"Ahead of us we also have to address what will happen in Raqqa (Syria)," Senator Payne told reporters in Brussels.

Asked about the prospects of boots on the ground in Syria, she said: "It's part of the broad conjecture."

Australia has 780 defence personnel deployed in the Middle East carrying out air strikes, training Iraqi soldiers and on special operations.

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