Situation in Syria and Iraq

NATO training mission in Iraq to be continued

NATO member states agreed to continue the training mission in Iraq, said Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, who arrived in Brussels on a two-day visit to attend the alliance’s defence ministers’ meeting.

One of the focal points around which the talks centred was the situation in the Middle East, most notably, in Iraq.

“We are still waiting for the stance of the Iraqi government, it will carry substantial significance,” Minister Błaszczak said.

He added that the NATO states place particular attention on effectively combating threats related to terrorism. The minister stressed that the training character of the mission will not change.

The alliance’s mission in Iraq included 500 people before it was put on hold after the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed by US forces on the country’s territory.

The talks also concerned the policy of deterrence and defence, the so-called NATO readiness initiatives, as well as the issue of Russia violating the treaty on the elimination of intermediate and medium-range missiles (INF). Mr Błaszczak stated that he could not disclose any details on the matter.

Minister Błaszczak also held a number of bilateral meetings with his counterparts. He met, among others with the US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, with whom he discussed mutual cooperation in the field of security and within the Alliance, Polish-US declarations and exercise Defender 2020.

Among others, Mr Błaszczak talked with the defence ministers of Ukraine, Croatia, Romania and Italy. Furthermore, a ministerial meeting in the format of the Visegrad Group took place with the attendance of the UK Defence Minister, with the talks concerning Brexit.

“We talked about maintaining bonds with the UK, as it has very close relations with EU countries, and is still developing them”, he said.

As regards the cooperation between the UK and the Visegrad Group, Minister Błaszczak stated that he had been assured by the British government that the partnership will continue to bloom.

Source: Polandin

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