Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that Allied ministers had reaffirmed their support to Iraq and agreed in principle to enhance NATO’s training mission.

In the first instance, this will consist of taking on some of the Global Coalition’s current training activities. Ministers also agreed to explore what more could be done, beyond this first step.

“Today Allied ministers reaffirmed our support to Iraq, and agreed in principle to enhance NATO’s training mission. In the first instance, this will consist of taking on some of the Global Coalition’s current training activities. Ministers also agreed to explore what more we can do, beyond this first step.  Let me be clear: NATO is in Iraq on the invitation of the Iraqi Government. And we will only stay in Iraq as long as we are welcome. Because NATO fully respects Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Everything we do will be in close consultation and coordination with the Iraqi government.  I remain in close contact with the Iraqi leadership. And we have constructive discussions on the way forward for the NATO mission in Iraq. Our aim is to increase the capacity of the Iraqi armed forces so that they no longer require our support. Together we are committed to fight terrorism. And ensure that ISIS does not come back. Over the past years, the Iraqi people and the Iraqi forces have demonstrated great courage and commitment in the fight against terrorism. We commend them for their sacrifices.

Ministers also discussed the situation in the wider Middle East and North Africa. And they decided to further explore what more NATO can do. To fight terrorism, build stability and strengthen our partnerships across the region.

We also addressed Afghanistan. As we continue to consult closely on the way forward. NATO fully supports the US-led peace efforts, which can pave the way for intra-Afghan talks. But the Taliban need to demonstrate that they are both willing and capable to deliver a reduction of violence. And contribute to peace in good faith. The aim of our Resolute Support mission is to strengthen the Afghan security forces, so they can fight terrorism and create the conditions for peace. And we will continue our discussion tomorrow with all our contributing partners.”

Read the Secretary General’s entire press conference here.

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