Shortly before announcing that Australia would not withdraw its 500 troops from Iraq, Prime Minister John Howard struck a defense deal with President Bush giving his nation the same preferential status as the UK when purchasing US military technology. The deal “will remove layers of bureaucracy for defense industries in Australia," Howard said.
The new defense cooperation treaty will help arms and surveillance industries share technology and will advance training for US and Australia troops to work together. Howard discussed the pact at a press conference where he also vowed to keep troops in Iraq. “Until we are satisfied the Iraqis can look after themselves, Australian forces will not be reduced or withdrawn," Howard said.