Coronavirus response: Poland delivers medical aid to Iraq
Today (16 June 2020), the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland donated 50,000 protective face masks to Iraq’s health authorities, following Iraq’s request for support in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Iraq made this request through NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC). The EADRCC is NATO’s main civil emergency response mechanism. The Centre operates on a 24/7 basis, coordinating requests and offers of assistance. Since the start of the crisis, the EADRCC has coordinated requests from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and 15 NATO and partner countries, resulting in dozens of offers of assistance.
The Polish contingent in the NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) coordinated the delivery of this aid. A ceremony to mark the Polish donation took place at the Iraqi military base at Taji, attended by Iraqi senior civilian and military officials, Polish representatives, and personnel of the NATO Mission Iraq and of the Combined Joint Task Force of the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve.
NATO launched its current Mission in Iraq in 2018, at the request of Iraq and following a decision by NATO leaders at the Brussels Summit. The NATO Mission Iraq is a non-combat advising, training and capacity-building mission, conducted with full respect of Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It involves trainers, advisors and supporting personnel from Allied and partner countries, including Australia, Sweden and Finland. This Mission builds upon the achievements to date of the partnership between NATO and Iraq.
Iraq and NATO also share a common commitment in the fight against terrorism. On 4 June 2020, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS held via video conference. He stated in that context that NATO remains firmly committed to support “self-sustaining Iraqi Security Forces, able to prevent the return of Daesh, stabilise their country, and fight terrorism.” The Secretary General also noted the importance of moving forward in close coordination and consultation with the Global Coalition and the Iraqi government.
NATO’s continued efforts in Iraq will also be highlighted at the next meetings of NATO Defence Ministers to be held via video-conference on 17 and 18 June 2020.