Conflict in Iraq pushes Abbott closer to the US on defence
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed Australia will work closely with the United States before deciding what to do about the deteriorating security situation in Iraq.
Insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have taken a swathe of territory in northern Iraq since launching an offensive last week.
Mr Abbott said at the weekend the situation in Iraq was very serious and he wanted to make a measured decision about exactly what to do.
He said he would continue to talk to the United States about any contribution or support Australia might provide.
"As you would expect the Americans are weighing their options right now," he said.
"They will talk to us, we will talk to them.
"Let us see what emerges, but at the moment, we just need to appreciate just how serious a situation this is.
"We will keep talking with them and if there is a need for decisions, the decisions will be made."
The escalating violence in Iraq has prompted the United States to send an aircraft carrier and support ships to the Persian Gulf.
The USS George HW Bush along with the USS Philippine Sea and the USS Truxtun are expected to arrive in the region this week.
Mr Abbott will return home this week from an 11-day overseas trip where he met the leaders of Indonesia, France, Canada and the United States.