NATO Secretary General in Iraq: training national forces is a key tool in fighting terrorism
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Tuesday (17 September 2019) for talks on the Alliance’s new training mission in the country and the security situation in the region. The Secretary General paid tribute to the bravery of the Iraqi forces in liberating their country from Daesh and freeing millions from oppression, saying this victory makes Iraq safer, and NATO safer too.
Following a decision by Allied leaders at NATO’s 2018 Summit, hundreds of trainers and support staff from Allies and partners are now in Iraq, providing advice and support to the Prime Minister’s National Operations Centre, the Ministry of Defence, and the Office of the National Security Adviser. NATO also supports a number of Iraqi military schools and academies, including the Defence University.
Mr. Stoltenberg highlighted that NATO’s assistance is helping Iraq to form a core group of instructors and trainers, boosting skills in areas like countering improvised explosive devices, military medicine, and military communications. He further underlined NATO’s full respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Iraq. He stressed that as Iraq continues to rebuild, the country can count on NATO’s continuing support and friendship.
The Secretary General also commented on the recent attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, saying: “I condemn the attacks against civilian oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Any disruption to global energy supplies is clearly of concern to NATO Allies. We are monitoring developments closely and with concern. I urge all parties to prevent further such incidents which pose a serious threat to regional security.”
Later on Tuesday, the Secretary General is meeting with Iraqi Defence Minister Najah al-Shammari, and will deliver remarks at the Iraqi Defence University.
On Monday, the Secretary General visited the Iraqi School of Military Communications at Taji, as well as Canada’s Tactical Aviation Detachment, which provides key helicopter support to the Alliance’s efforts in the country. Mr. Stoltenberg also met with the Commander of NATO Mission Iraq, Major General Dany Fortin; and with the Commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operaton Inherent Resolve, Lieutenant General Robert White.