By John Lee.
Spain has taken over command of NATO Mission Iraq from Italy, at a change of command ceremony in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Full statement from NATO:
Lieutenant General José Antonio Agüero Martínez of Spain assumed command of NATO Mission Iraq on Wednesday (24 May 2023) at a change of command ceremony in Baghdad. He succeeds Lieutenant General Giovanni Maria Iannucci of Italy, who had been in post since May 2022.
"Over the past 12 months, we have worked hard, along with the Iraqi security forces and institutions; together we have agreed areas and priorities to work upon, in order to boost structural changes and reforms necessary to make the Iraqi security forces even more effective and sustainable, so that they themselves are able to stabilise their country, fight terrorism, and prevent the return of Daesh," Lieutenant General Iannucci said.
"Tangible results have been achieved to create the conditions for lasting security in Iraq and stability across the region. Indeed more work lies ahead, but the cooperation developed with our Iraqi counterparts is solid and is moving forward," he added.
Lieutenant General José Antonio Agüero Martínez pointed out: "Our Iraqi colleagues have their own history, culture, organization and tradition. It is up to the them to organise their national security framework; through NATO Mission Iraq, we will continue to provide our advice in a manner tailored to Iraqi requirements."
Established in Baghdad in October 2018, NATO Mission Iraq is a non-combat advisory and capacity-building mission that assists Iraq in building more sustainable, transparent, inclusive and effective security institutions and armed forces, so that Iraq is able to stabilize the country, fight terrorism, and prevent the return of Daesh. All efforts of NATO Mission Iraq are carried out with the consent of the Iraqi government and conducted in full respect of Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity. NATO Mission Iraq is a concrete demonstration of NATO's readiness to address all challenges to the Euro-Atlantic region, from any direction.
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