Nato agrees on support package for Iraq

2015-08-01 07:07
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Brussels – Nato allies agreed on Friday on a package of measures to help strengthen Iraqi security and defence forces, including in the fields of military training, demining and countering improvised explosive devices.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the aid programme, approved by the alliance's 28 member nations, is designed to help Iraq by providing support in areas where Nato "is best placed to add value”.

Independent analysts said beefing up Iraqi defence capabilities would also contribute to stabilising the southern border of Turkey, a Nato member, and boost the military campaign being waged by a US-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State group.

On Tuesday, NatoO ambassadors held an emergency meeting at Turkey's request on the threat posed by ISIS and the countermeasures Turkey has been taking in response. Bruno Lete, senior programme officer for foreign and security policy at the German Marshall Fund, a Brussels think tank, said the meeting "encouraged Nato to think more seriously about its strategy south" toward ISIS and other radical Muslim groups active in Iraq, Syria and much of North Africa.

Until then, Lete said, Nato strategy sessions mostly focused on the perceived threat to the east: Russia.

In a statement, Stoltenberg said the new Iraqi assistance program had been developed at Iraq's request, and in close consultation with Iraqi authorities.

He said Nato plans to help Iraq in seven priority areas, including advising on security sector reforms, disposal of explosive ordnance, civil military planning, cyber-defence, military medicine and civil emergency planning.

Stoltenberg said Nato and Iraqi experts will work out details of future training programmes, which will be held in Turkey and Jordan. The Nato support package, he said, is designed to complement efforts of the US-led coalition against ISIS, as well as individual Nato allies, the European Union and the UN.

Read more on:    isis  |  nato  |  iraq

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