Last update: 16-Dec-2004 10:38 NATO Update

9 Dec. 2004


Foreign Ministers agree
on expanded NATO roles in Iraq, Afghanistan

Programme of the Foreign Ministers meeting at NATO HQ on 8 and 9 December 2004
NATO’s assistance to Iraq
NATO in Afghanistan
Meeting in Brussels on 9 December, Foreign Ministers of the 26 NATO countries agreed to move ahead with expanding NATO’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan and to maintain its commitment to the Balkans.

The meeting reflected “a strong transatlantic consensus” on the key issues on the Alliance’s agenda, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters.

This was the first meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers following the Alliance’s Istanbul Summit in June. It provided an opportunity for Ministers to review progress in implementing the decisions made by Heads of State and Government at the Summit.

Delivering on commitments

The Ministers reiterated NATO’s commitment to Afghanistan and agreed to provide additional support for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The Alliance currently is preparing to expand the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The so-called ‘phase 2’ expansion will see NATO deploying Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) to the West of the country.

Foreign Ministers also gave the formal go-ahead for the expansion of NATO’s training assistance to Iraq. The Alliance’s mission in Iraq will be now increased to around 300 personnel, including trainers and support staff, and will step up the ongoing training and mentoring of senior level Iraqi security forces.

The next stage of this expanded assistance will involve the establishment of a NATO-supported Iraqi Training, Education and Doctrine Centre near Baghdad next year, Mr. De Hoop Scheffer said.

The Ministers pledged to continue maintain a robust NATO presence in Kosovo, recognizing that “the security environment remains fragile”.

The meeting, held on 8 and 9 December at NATO Headquaerters, saw also the first Ministerial-level meeting with countries from NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and new decisions between NATO and Russia on combating terrorism.