BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:25 A.M.) -NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the organisation had received the green-light to stay in Iraq for training and advisory purposes. He made the comments during a press briefing held after the North Atlantic Council meeting Defence Ministers’ gathering in Brussels on Thursday.
Stoltenberg affirmed that “NATO is closely coordinating and consulting with the Global Coalition in Iraq,” adding that “we will only stay in Iraq as long as we are welcomed.”
He also repeated the accusation that Russia had breached the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and pledged to respond to the “demise of the treaty” by adapting NATO’s defensive measures. Russia denies breaching the INF.
Despite the criticism of Russia, Stoltenberg emphasised that NATO “will not mirror what Russia does,” yet the allies will keep the “deterrence and defence effective to protect our people.”
Regarding the situation in Ukraine, Stoltenberg said that the “allies expressed their support [for] Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The situation in the Middle East and North Africa was discussed in Stoltenberg’s briefing. Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, Stoltenberg described the situation as “difficult” and added that the Taliban must show that “they are really committed to achieving lasting peace.”
Stoltenberg expressed NATO’s view on Libya, by saying that the NATO “strongly supports” the UN-led efforts to “find a peaceful-negotiated solution,” and also expressed support for “efforts of NATO allies in the meeting in Berlin.”
“The situation in Idlib is serious,” said the NATO secretary general, who called “on the Russian-backed Syrian regime to stop all the attacks,” and to “engage in UN-led talks to find a peaceful solution.”