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22 June 2005

NATO Urges All Countries To Help Iraq Build Democracy, Stability

Secretary-general addresses international conference on Iraq

Speaking at the International Conference on Iraq co-hosted by the European Union and the United States June 22, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer outlined the alliance’s role in training Iraqi security personnel and urged all countries to help Iraq build on what has been achieved so far.

“Iraq now has a democratically elected parliament and government that wants to work with all friends of Iraq to bring peace and stability,” de Hoop Scheffer told conference participants, including over 65 foreign ministers. “In this new phase, there is no reason for any country not to make a significant contribution to this effort, and compelling reasons why all of us should do so.”

He emphasized NATO’s commitment to a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Iraq and said “increased security and functioning institutions are critical to achieving this objective.”

NATO is providing training and mentorship to leadership personnel from Iraqi security establishments both inside and outside of Iraq, de Hoop Scheffer said.

He appealed for additional donors to provide training and equipment as well as contributions to a special trust fund established to support NATO’s training efforts.

De Hoop Scheffer ended by emphasizing that “the Iraqi Government makes the decisions. We are there to advise and to assist.”

Following is the text of his remarks:

(begin text)

NATO Speeches
Brussels
22 June 2005

INTERVENTION BY NATO SECRETARY GENERAL JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON IRAQ

Thank you Dr. Rice and Dr. Solana. Our meeting here today shows that we are focused on a common vision: that of a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Iraq.

Increased security and functioning institutions are critical to achieving this objective. Iraq now has a democratically elected parliament and government that wants to work with all friends of Iraq to bring peace and stability. In this new phase, there is no reason for any country not to make a significant contribution to this effort, and compelling reasons why all of us should do so.

The North Atlantic Treaty organization and its member states are committed to fully implementing its Istanbul Summit decision, to help the government of Iraq train and equip its security forces.

The NATO Training Implementation Mission (NTM-I) is training and mentoring leadership personnel from the Iraqi security establishments inside Iraq and has focused in particular on the development of Headquarters structures, and related staff and communication skills.

NATO and its member states have also offered training outside of Iraq. Since last autumn, over 100 carefully selected personnel have been trained at NATO establishments outside Iraq. NATO nations have also offered over 250 slots for individual national training through the end of the year. We plan to increase the numbers substantially in 2006.

The NATO mission complements the efforts of the Multi National Force and individual nations. We work closely with the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior. We are determined to reach our goal of training roughly 1,000 Iraqi personnel per year.

An important next step for NATO will be the establishment this coming September of the Training and Education Doctrine Center at Ar Rustimaya in the outskirts of Baghdad. This center will have state of the art facilities that will allow training and classroom activities to be concentrated in one place. We would welcome discussions with other nations and institutions that are considering conducting training in Iraq regarding the possible use of this Center.

NATO also plays an important role in coordinating offers of equipment and training to the Iraqi forces from individual NATO and other countries. I would encourage all those who are interested in providing training or equipment to consider coordinating those offers through the existing NATO Training and Equipment Coordination Group. Contact information has been included in the NATO fact sheet that has been distributed to delegations.

The NATO Training Mission is supported through the Alliance's commonly funded military budget and investment programme. We have also established a special trust fund to support the travel and subsistence of Iraqi Security Forces training outside Iraq, and to support the running of Ar Rustimaya. And we are planning to expand the use of this trust fund to cover the transportation of donated equipment

I would like to use this opportunity to make a strong appeal for additional donors and for additional contributions to this trust fund. Over the past year, the Alliance has shown that it is able to make an effective contribution in areas that are critical to Iraq's long-term security and stability. And any contributions to the trust fund will be money well spent.

Ladies and Gentlemen. The guiding principle of NATO's mission in Iraq has been simple: the Iraqi Government makes the decisions. We are there to advise and to assist. And we will continue to coordinate closely with the Iraqi government and to harmonize our efforts with the government's needs and priorities.

Clearly, much work remains to be done. What is needed now is tenacity and continuity in helping our Iraqi friends to consolidate and build upon what has been achieved. NATO will continue to play its part in this collective effort, and I invite our friends and Partners to join us.

(end text)

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



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