NATO chief meets Iraqi leaders over military training cooperation

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/3/6 8:04:42

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg held meetings with Iraqi leaders to enhance training mission of Iraqi security forces after the territorial defeat of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi received a NATO delegation headed by Stoltenberg in his office, where the two sides asserted on the importance of cooperation in fighting the IS group, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office.

"We are training the Iraqi forces and will continue to support Iraq and cooperate in training, building military academies and provide expertise," the statement quoted Stoltenberg as saying.

For his part, Abadi said that "the great victory over the gangs of Daesh (IS group) must be maintained and we must eliminate the ideological presence of terrorism and continue chasing them."

In mid-February, Stoltenberg said in Brussels that NATO defense ministers agreed to start plans for a training mission in Iraq.

He said the move "has been requested by both the Iraqi government and the global coalition."

NATO already has a small training team for Iraqi officers, "but establishing a mission will make our current training efforts more sustainable," he added.

Late in January, a statement by Abadi's office said that the Prime Minister told Stoltenberg in a phone call that Iraq wanted to intensify and accelerate training of Iraqi forces, including the military intelligence service.

Abadi, who is also Commander-in-Chief of Iraqi forces, officially declared on Dec. 9, 2017 the full liberation of Iraq from the IS after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.

However, small groups and individuals of IS militants are still capable of carrying out sporadic attacks against security forces and civilians.

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