» Thursday, June 24, 2004

NATO Summit

Asked about next week’s NATO Summit in Turkey, the PMOS said that the two key elements would be Iraq and Afghanistan. As was well known, Prime Minister Alawi, on behalf of the Iraqi Government, had issued a request for help with training Iraqi troops. Since we were in favour of Iraqi-isation, we would consider this request positively, not least because we were already involved in such a process in Iraq. However, this was something that would need to be discussed by all our NATO colleagues, building on discussions which had taken place at the recent G8 Summit at Sea Island. The NATO Summit would also raise the issue of Afghanistan – hence President Karzai’s expected attendance – in which we would want to discuss the issue of security, particularly in terms of expanding ISAF’s role beyond Kabul. It went without saying that we remained committed to helping Afghanistan wherever possible. Asked if the Prime Minister had considered not attending the Summit following the bombings in Istanbul today, the PMOS said no.

Asked if NATO would discuss the possibility of sending troops to Iraq, the PMOS said that as we had stated at Sea Island, we saw NATO’s involvement in Iraq as being largely on the technical and training side. The fact that NATO countries, such as the UK, US and Poland, already had assets in Iraq was clearly useful. We believed that the best way to provide security was to train up Iraqi troops to provide it themselves.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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