16/09/2004

President of Iraq visits NATO, welcomes assistance

During a visit to NATO this week, Interim Iraqi President Sheikh Ghazi Al-Yawar has welcomed the assistance offered to Iraq by the Alliance and called for further help urgently.

The visit came as NATO's North Atlantic Council is discussing the details of how the Alliance will support Iraq with training of its security forces and other technical assistance.

In June this year, NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to assist Iraq with training of its security forces. A NATO Training Assistance Implementation Mission in Iraq was established on 30 July and has already begun training selected Iraqi headquarters personnel in Iraq.

Further measures are now being discussed by the Council to expand the training mission, and to develop further options for supporting the development of Iraqi security institutions.

The President briefed the Council, the Alliance's principal decision-making body, on the political and security situation in the country.

Sheikh Al-Yawar stressed the urgency of training and equipping Iraqi security forces, particularly as Iraq prepares for elections, scheduled for January 2005.

“Definitely we want to have a secure and safe environment so that Iraqis can cast their votes without being intimidated or fearing anybody,” he told reporters after the meeting.

This was the first visit by Sheikh Ghazi Al-Yawar to NATO. It follows a previous visit by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on July 13 2004, the first ever visit by a senior Iraqi official to NATO.

(gb/mb)


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 April 2011
NATO Foreign Ministers Meet In Berlin
Over the next two days, Foreign Secretary William Hague is meeting with Foreign Ministers from the 27 other NATO countries and over 20 partner countries in Berlin. The UK and NATO are working with a broad range of partners to confront security challenges.
28 June 2004
Blair welcomes transfer of power to Iraqis
Prime Minister Tony Blair has welcomed the transfer of sovereignty back into the hands of local authorities and said that it was "the will of the whole international community for Iraq to take control of its own destiny".
19 September 2008
UK Backs NATO Transformation Plans
NATO's Defence Ministers are meeting in London today to discuss how to deliver a more efficient and effective NATO. Ministers will talk about how NATO can produce quicker response forces and more mobile capabilities.
02 December 2004
EU takes over Bosnian peacekeeping role from Nato
The European Union has taken over control of peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina today (December 2), the largest mission the Union has ever embarked upon.
01 December 2003
Britain takes lead role in Nato's chemical defence unit
Britain is to take on a leading role in a new multinational Nato battalion designed to respond to attacks from Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) weapons.