NATO reaffirms partnership with Iraq, will consider request for defence capacity building
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Brussels on Wednesday (3 December 2014), for a discussion on security and political developments in Iraq, Syria, and the wider region. The Secretary General noted that NATO and Iraq have worked for years on strengthening political dialogue and increasing the capacity of Iraqi security forces. Noting the challenging circumstances facing Iraq and the region, Mr Stoltenberg assured Prime Minister al-Abadi of the Alliance’s continued commitment to the NATO-Iraq partnership.
The Secretary General congratulated the Prime Minister on the formation of an inclusive government, and welcomed Mr al-Abadi’s efforts to build confidence among Iraq’s various ethnic communities. Mr. Stoltenberg underlined the need for Iraqi unity in defeating the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. He further welcomed the Iraqi government’s efforts in developing positive relations with regional countries.
Mr. Stoltenberg underlined NATO’s continued support to Iraq in its efforts to restore stability and security, and its commitment to help Iraq build more effective security forces. As laid out in the Wales Summit Declaration, this includes cooperation in the areas of political dialogue, education and training, response to terrorism, defence institution building, border security and communications.
Prime Minister al-Abadi informed the Secretary General that the Iraqi government is sending a request to NATO for defence capacity building support. As agreed by NATO Allies at the Wales Summit in September, this request will be reviewed by the North Atlantic Council once received. The Alliance will consider assistance to Iraq in the framework of NATO’s Defence and Related Security Capacity Building initiative.In line with Allied decisions, NATO could also aim to reinforce Iraqi efforts to build inclusive security institutions, and would complement the considerable efforts already undertaken by the US-led coalition, international organisations, and individual nations. NATO will stay in close touch with the Iraqi government on this issue.