Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the meeting of Defence Ministers of Global Coalition to defeat ISIS

  • 08 Jun. 2018 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 08 Jun. 2018 15:23

(As delivered)

Thank you so much and to all of you: welcome to NATO’s new Headquarters. Welcome to this new meeting room.

And I would like to start by thanking you, Secretary Mattis for your personal leadership, and also for the leadership of the United States. And I also would like to pay tribute to Special Envoy McGurk for his tireless efforts. And under your watch, the Coalition has made tremendous progress.

Millions have been freed from oppression. And ISIS is a shadow of its former self. But we all know that ISIS has not yet been defeated. It continues to pose a deadly threat. So we must remain vigilant, agile and proactive. NATO has been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism for a long time, not least through our engagement in Afghanistan.

So this is a top priority for NATO. And for all NATO Allies.

One of the best weapons we have in the fight against terrorism is training local forces. And building local capacity to strengthen resilience against terrorism.  Since January 2017, NATO advisers have been working in Iraq. Overseeing training activities and working with the Iraqi authorities to reform their security institutions. We have been training Iraqi security forces in several areas.

Including counter-IED, explosive ordnance disposal and de-mining.

In March, I saw for myself in Besmaya the excellent work these teams are doing. At the request of the Iraqi government and the Global Coalition, NATO will soon launch a new training mission in Iraq, with several hundred personnel.  We will train Iraqi instructors.  And develop Iraqi military schools. This new mission will make our current training efforts more sustainable, with better resourcing and a well-established process for Allies to contribute forces. This support will help Iraqi forces defend their country. And prevent the re-emergence of ISIS. NATO has an untapped potential to do more training and more capacity-building.

As we move forward, we will continue to coordinate with others. Including the Global Coalition, the European Union, and the United Nations, and individual Allies and partners.

So once again, welcome to this new Headquarters and I look forward to participating in this meeting on the Coalition. Thank you so much.