NATO Ambassadors met on Monday to address current tensions in the Middle East and implications for NATO’s training mission in Iraq.

Speaking after the meeting of NATO’s North Atlantic Council, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that the safety of NATO’s personnel in Iraq is paramount and that the Alliance had temporarily suspended training activities on the ground. He added that NATO was prepared to continue training and capacity-building when the situation permits, emphasizing that the Alliance remains strongly committed to the fight against international terrorism.

“I have just chaired a meeting of the North Atlantic Council. We addressed current tensions in the Middle East, and implications for NATO’s training mission in Iraq. NATO and all NATO Allies take part in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. And NATO’s mission in Iraq is an important contribution to the Coalition’s effort.

At the invitation of the Iraqi government, we are helping to train forces and prevent the return of ISIS. At our meeting today, Allies expressed their strong support for the fight against ISIS and for the NATO mission in Iraq. In everything that we do, the safety of our personnel is paramount. As such, we have for the time being suspended our training on the ground. And we are taking all precautions necessary to protect our people.

We are keeping the situation under close review. And we remain in close contact with the Iraqi authorities. NATO is prepared to continue our training and capacity-building when the situation permits. We remain strongly committed to the fight against international terrorism.”

Read the Secretary General’s press point in full here.

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“Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them.” – TE Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia