All NATO Nations to Aid Iraq Training

From Associated Press

All 26 nations of the NATO alliance decided Tuesday to work together to help train Iraq’s military, a decision designed to symbolize an end to the bitter divisions wrought by the Iraq war.

In a sign of lingering differences, however, France, Germany and other war opponents will not send instructors to Iraq, limiting their contribution to training outside the country or funding for the operation.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been struggling for months to get a commitment from all its members to join the training mission. Officials said they had enough resources to increase the mission to 160 instructors and 200 guards and support staffers in Iraq.

The mission inside Iraq now includes about 110 instructors training senior Iraqi officers in Baghdad’s heavily protected Green Zone, which houses the interim government and the U.S. Embassy. More than half the NATO instructors are American.


NATO officials said its members had also pledged more than $4.5 million for a trust fund to cover transport and expenses of Iraqi officers traveling to NATO training posts outside the country. Allied nations will cover their own costs for training inside and outside the country.

French President Jacques Chirac confirmed that France would participate in the NATO mission. But officials said France’s contribution would be limited to one officer working at NATO headquarters in Brussels. France has separately offered to train 1,500 Iraqi military police in Qatar and to play a lead role in European Union efforts to train Iraqi judicial officials.

Although Britain, Italy, Poland and other NATO nations have sent troops to join the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, the organization’s role there has been restricted to the training mission.