NATO Mission to Iraq to Increase 8-Fold

By John Lee.

NATO defence ministers concluded their second day of meetings via secure teleconference on Thursday.

They discussed NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both missions are key contributions to the fight against international terrorism.

On Iraq, Ministers agreed to expand the scope of the NATO mission, following Iraq's request, in order to support the Iraqi forces as they fight terrorism and ensure that ISIS does not return.

The mission will continue to be carried out with full respect for Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity and in close coordination with the Global Coalition.

Speaking after the meetings, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (pictured) said:

"Today, we decided to expand NATO's training mission in Iraq.

"To support the Iraqi forces as they fight terrorism and ensure that ISIS does not return.

"The size of our mission will increase from 500 personnel to around 4,000.

"And training activities will now include more Iraqi security institutions, and areas beyond Baghdad.

"Our presence is conditions-based, and increases in troop numbers will be incremental.

"Our mission is at the request of the Iraqi government.

"It is carried out with full respect for Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"I spoke with Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi this week and assured him that everything will be done in full consultation with the Iraqi authorities.

"We are also closely coordinating with the Global Coalition."

(Source: NATO)

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