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NATO To Open Center for Training of Iraqi Military Officers

10 June 2005

Alliance also plans to deploy additional forces to Afghanistan

Washington -- NATO will open an Iraqi officer training, education and doctrine center at Rustimiyah southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, by the end of September, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said June 9.

The center will also help Iraqi officers develop military doctrine for Iraqi security forces, NATO officials said during meetings of the alliance's defense ministers in Brussels, Belgium.  When fully operational, it will train 1,000 Iraqi officers annually, officials said.

The Rustimiyah Center is a combined venture, with Iraq paying for fixtures and housing for students and Iraqi instructors; Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq paying to refurbish classrooms and half of the cost for contracted force protection; and NATO paying for the other half of force protection, housing of NATO staff, and other operating and management costs.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR AFGHAN ELECTIONS

The NATO defense ministers also agreed at their recent meeting in Brussels to increase the number of alliance troops in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan ahead of parliamentary and provincial elections in September, de Hoop Scheffer said.  The alliance will deploy an additional three battalions, a quick-reaction force and an "over-the-horizon" force to boost its presence on the ground.

De Hoop Scheffer said that once this expansion phase is completed, by July, NATO will be providing security assistance in about 50 percent of the country.

This is similar to the security presence NATO provided during the Afghan presidential election in October 2004, officials said.

And NATO will expand the alliance command over two provincial reconstruction teams later this summer in addition to two others it already controls, deHoop Scheffer said at a news briefing.

SEMINAR IN SOFIA TO ADDRESS WMD PROLIFERATION

Senior officials from across the world will discuss the challenges of the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) at a high-level NATO seminar in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, June 28-29.  It is the second NATO seminar on the challenges posed by the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

"Seventeen high-level speakers -- senior officials and academics from the 46 NATO and partner countries, the alliance's Mediterranean Dialogue partners, countries from the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and the Asia-Pacific, will discuss some of the key challenges related to WMD proliferation," NATO said in an announcement.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hosting the seminar.

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



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