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03 September 2003

Poland Assumes Command of Multinational Division in Iraq

NATO: Polish troops playing major role in stabilizing Iraq

Poland assumed command of the Multinational Division (MND) Central South in Iraq on September 3, widening international participation in Iraq's security and reconstruction.

NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said the Polish troops are "playing a major role, with NATO support, in helping to stabilize a nation devastated by three wars and 30 years of Saddam Hussein's appallingly destructive and cruel dictatorship. NATO is pleased to help and the Alliance will continue its support to Poland."

Several NATO and other partner countries are among the nations contributing to the Polish-led multinational division. Spain is providing "a substantial presence" and the deputy commander, and Ukraine is contributing the second largest number of troops. Other contributors are Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, and the United States.

Following is a NATO press release outlining its support for the MND:

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NATO Press Release
3 September 2003

POLAND ASSUMES COMMAND OF MULTI-NATIONAL DIVISION IN IRAQ WITH NATO SUPPORT

Today, Poland assumes command of the Multinational Division (MND) Central South in Iraq as part of the international stabilisation force. Poland is doing so with support from NATO, as well as with contributions from individual NATO countries and Partner nations.

Secretary General of NATO Lord Robertson said, "The Poles are playing a major role, with NATO support, in helping to stabilise a nation devastated by three wars and 30 years of Saddam Hussein's appallingly destructive and cruel dictatorship. Their efforts will help speed Iraq's recovery, and its economic and political reconstruction. I wish them the best of luck, but I have every confidence they will do a superb job. NATO is pleased to help and the Alliance will continue its support to Poland."

On June 2, the North Atlantic Council agreed to a request from the Polish Representative to support Poland in the context of its leadership of a sector in Iraq. That NATO support has consisted of providing intelligence, logistics expertise, movement co-ordination, force generation and secure communications support.

To that end, NATO has assisted the Poles in a variety of ways, including: SHAPE has actively participated in Warsaw's orientation and force generation conferences and on June 30 the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral Rainer Feist chaired a Force Review Conference at SHAPE in Mons, Belgium. Additionally, SHAPE held a Manning Conference on July 8 involving representatives of 31 nations.

The NATO School in Oberammergau conducted specialised training for the MND staff in Szczecin, Poland on July 23.

Experts from the AFSOUTH NATO HQ supported the Polish planning staff in Warsaw with advice on logistic planning, including standardisation issues.

A NATO team is assisting the Poles to establish a secure satellite communications link from the Polish-led multinational division to a ground station in Europe.

NATO has also provided assistance in intelligence sharing and information management for the MND.

Several NATO and Partner countries are among the nations contributing to the Polish-led multi-national division. Spain provides a substantial presence and the Deputy Commander, while Ukraine is the second largest force contributor. Other Allied and Partner contributors include Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and the United States.

The North Atlantic Council will continue to review NATO's contribution to the stabilisation force on a regular basis.

Lord Robertson added "Together with other NATO operations in the Balkans and in Afghanistan, the Alliance's support for Poland in Iraq demonstrates the important contribution NATO is making to stability and crisis management and the fight against terrorism. This contribution will help ensure that we defeat the men of violence who seek to undermine the return to stability so much desired by the people of Iraq. NATO deplores both the attack on the international community in the UN headquarters and the indiscriminate attack on innocent Iraqi people in Najaf. In neither case will terrorists succeed in their callous aims".

For further information please contact the NATO Press and Media Service in Brussels, tel.: + 32 (0)2 707 50 41, fax: + 32 (0)2 707 50 57.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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