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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 78, July/August 2004

In the News

Deep Divisions over Iraq at NATO's Istanbul Summit

Report from Nicola Butler

The recent summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), held in Istanbul June 28-29, was dominated by divisions over Iraq, with the Allies able to agree only the most limited assistance in the form of training for Iraqi security forces. Whilst the United States and France clashed over whether NATO training could take place inside or outside Iraq, the summit itself was blown off the front pages of the world press by the transfer of Iraqi sovereignty, which had been brought forward for security reasons, thereby coinciding with the first day of the NATO summit on June 28.

NATO is keen to play down past disputes on Iraq. The official summit media guide refers only to an "intense debate" within the Alliance in February 2003 (when France, Germany and Belgium blocked Alliance deployment of missile batteries to Turkey for use in conjunction with the war on Iraq). It has been impossible, however, for the allies to brush past divisions completely under the carpet. With President Chirac describing the US-led invasion of Iraq as "profoundly mistaken" in his summit press conference, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair was forced to acknowledge, "there's no point in thinking - we haven't overcome the disagreement there was about whether the conflict was justified - I mean, there's no point in us standing here and saying, all the previous disagreements have disappeared. They haven't."1

The damage done by the Bush administration's approach towards allies in the run up to the war with Iraq is still very apparent, with many NATO allies now unwilling to agree to any substantive proposal that could aid the Bush's chances of re-election in November.

As a result, despite the agreement of UN Security Council Resolution 1546 on Iraq on June 8 and the handover of power to the Iraqi interim administration, the NATO summit was able to agree on only the most minimalist proposals concerning Iraq. A short statement from the summit confirmed that NATO would: continue to "support" a Polish-led multinational division in south-central Iraq; offer assistance to the Iraqi government with training of its security forces; and consider further proposals to "support the nascent Iraqi security institutions in response to the request of the Iraqi Interim Government and in accordance with UNSCR 1546".2 Even this limited agreement contained areas of contention, with France insisting that it would only help with training outside Iraq.

NATO's Istanbul summit consisted of four main meetings: the North Atlantic Council (NATO's highest decision-making body, attended by heads of state and government from each of the 26 Alliance member countries); the NATO-Russia Council (which met only at the level of foreign ministers, since President Putin stayed away, reflecting ongoing tension between NATO and Russia over enlargement and adaptation of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty); the NATO-Ukraine Commission; and the European-Atlantic Partnership Council (46 countries including many former Eastern bloc and former Soviet states).

In addition to the statement on Iraq, the summit resulted in a number of agreements3 including: the expansion of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (where NATO is currently facing significant overstretch as its forces struggle to impose security in the run up to elections); agreement to conclude the SFOR operation (the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina will shortly be taken over by the EU); and an initiative to expand NATO cooperation with countries in the Middle East (the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative).

NATO also reaffirmed its "open door" policy to new members, and particularly encouraged Albania, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia "to continue the reforms necessary to progress towards NATO membership".4 As noted above, relations with Russia continue to be strained over NATO enlargement and entry into force of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which remains stalled. Speaking after the NATO-Russia Council meeting, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said that NATO enlargement had resulted in "the strengthening of the military presence around Russian borders" in the territory of new member states. He called for, "extra confidence-building measures, measures of mutual control, [and] measures for preventing dangerous military activity."5 The Russian Duma has recently ratified the adapted CFE Treaty, however NATO allies remain unwilling to ratify the adapted Treaty until Russia has withdrawn its military forces from Georgia and Moldova.

No NATO flag in Iraq

Iraq is the issue that has dominated political discussions and debate within NATO in recent years. Whilst there were clearly divisions in the 1990s, when most NATO allies refused to participate in US-UK sorties to enforce "no fly zones" over Iraq, problems came to a head in an unprecedented manner in early 2003 when the Bush administration made it clear that it intended to proceed with military action against Iraq with or without the support of NATO allies.

With US military forces under increasing pressure in Iraq in the past year and the withdrawal of Spanish troops, the Bush administration has been intensifying pressure on its allies around the world to provide greater support and to provide troops. Calls from the United States for the Alliance to play an "enhanced role" in Iraq have been a major feature of NATO meetings in the run up to the Istanbul summit. What this enhanced role might involve was left unspecified as the Bush administration tried to negotiate with its reluctant allies.

NATO currently plays a very limited role in Iraq, providing "support" for Poland, which is leading a multinational division in south central Iraq. Clearly what the US would have liked from NATO is greater support on the ground in Iraq, including provision of more troops by allied countries, especially those that are currently un-represented, and for NATO to take over "responsibility" for some operations in Iraq, thereby relieving pressure on the United States. One US proposal would have been for NATO to take over responsibility for the Polish-led division.

Although 17 NATO allies have provided troops for Iraq, some of the countries with the strongest military forces in Europe such as France, Germany and, since the change of government, Spain, do not have troops on the ground, and have refused to commit troops in the absence of explicit UN authorisation.

Back in December 2003, US Secretary of State Colin Powell attempted to defer allies' concerns about the lack of an explicit UN mandate for Coalition military operations in Iraq, arguing that the previous UN Security Council Resolution 1511, provided "ample additional authority beyond the original authority in 1483 for any other contributions that individual nations or any alliance might wish to make."6 As negotiations got underway in the run up to the Istanbul summit, it quickly became clear that this would not be sufficient to engage France, which has led opposition within NATO to Alliance participation in the US-led coalition. France's position, articulated at the highest level, has been to insist on the need for a further UN Security Council Resolution on Iraq and for Iraq to have a "fully sovereign and independent government" at the earliest opportunity.

Whilst Democrat Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry has made "persuading NATO to accept Iraq as an alliance mission, with more troops from NATO and its partners"7 one of his key policies on Iraq, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan was unable to offer any clear strategy for the Bush administration in the run-up to the summit. McClellan told the press that although the White House was "continuing to move forward... to broaden the international support", he could not "speculate about what future role NATO may or may not play, because those discussions are really just getting underway".8

The Bush administration had hoped that the unanimous agreement of UN Security Council Resolution 1546 on Iraq and the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi interim administration, would help pave the way to more provision of allied troops on the ground. US officials reasoned that it would be much harder for France to resist supporting a UN-endorsed operation and that it would be difficult to refuse a request for assistance from the new Iraqi interim authority, but this has not turned out to be the case.

Despite progress on the UN resolution, President Bush was forced to lower expectations for the summit, claiming that he didn't actually "expect any additional troop commitments out of NATO".9 In early June the most that Bush was able to call for was that NATO allies would "at least continue the role that now exists, and hopefully expand it somewhat". Speaking at the G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia, Bush told the media, "I do think NATO ought to stay involved, and I think we have a good chance of getting that done."10

The response from President Chirac, however, was not only to continue to rule out any French troops for the Iraq operation, but to oppose any significant NATO-led operation in Iraq. Chirac did express satisfaction with negotiations on Resolution 1546, in particular the emphasis that it puts on sovereignty and independence of the Iraqi interim government, and he welcomed the "open-mindedness" of US diplomats in negotiating the resolution. These positive words were in stark contrast with the Bush administration's approach to Security Council members preceding the outset of the war in Spring 2003, and reflected the difficulties in Iraq that had come to bog down Bush policy in the region. Chirac, however, brushed aside calls from President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for an expanded NATO role, saying "I don't believe it is NATO's vocation to intervene in Iraq and, moreover, I don't have the feeling it would be opportune or even necessarily understood."11

In the days running up to the summit, the debate on what contribution NATO could make on Iraq was limited to an offer of assistance with training Iraqi security forces - with both the United States and France claiming victory on the Iraq issue within NATO. President Bush said he "appreciated" NATO's decision to offer assistance of this nature, whilst President Chirac emphasised that this agreement was in line with France's position that, "one of the necessary conditions for the rapid restoration of Iraqi sovereignty is obviously for the Iraqi authorities to be able to have military and police forces without which there's no sovereignty in a modern State." This was one of the points that French diplomats had pressed during negotiations on UNSCR 1546 and "some while ago France signalled her agreement to help train the Iraqi police".12

Even within this limited area, however, discord remained, with Chirac insisting that France would only help with training "outside" Iraq and proposing the NATO Defence College in Rome as a possible location. Asked if France would oppose "NATO going into Iraq, a NATO flag flying in Baghdad," Chirac responded: "France won't have to oppose that since it's not part of the mission entrusted to NATO and so won't happen... this debate has taken place. Any NATO action, any trace, if I can put it like that, of NATO on Iraqi soil was considered inappropriate and to my mind justly."13

Towards a new strategic mission?

In the run up to the summit, the Bush administration set out ambitious objectives for a new NATO with "new partners, new members, new military capabilities, and a new strategic mission".14 As US Ambassador to NATO R. Nicholas Burns put it, "NATO's mandate is still to defend Europe and North America. But we don't believe we can do that by sitting in Western Europe, or Central Europe, or North America. We have to deploy our conceptual attention and our military forces east and south. NATO's future, we believe, is east, and is south. It's in the Greater Middle East."15

It is clear that NATO's thinking concerning its current mission is in a period of transition to reflect the policies of the current US administration. The communiqués and declarations agreed at the Istanbul summit barely refer to the Alliance's Strategic Concept negotiated in 1999 under the Clinton administration, although this is still meant to be the guiding NATO strategy document. Previous NATO communiqué language recognising the "primary responsibility of the United Nations Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security"16 and committing the Alliance to "seek the peaceful resolution of disputes as set out in the Charter of the United Nations"17 is absent from the 2004 summit agreements.

Although NATO issued an Istanbul Declaration on "Our security in a new era" at the summit reaffirming NATO's commitment to collective defence and the transatlantic link, these areas are far less prominent than previously. In the late 1990s, NATO was preoccupied with extending its mission to include "non-article V" missions such as the NATO interventions in the Balkans. In contrast, the Istanbul Declaration of 2004 highlights "terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction" as the potential threats to North America and Europe and states that the Alliance is transforming its military capabilities to "meet these security challenges".18

According to the Istanbul Declaration NATO is now "engaged in fighting terrorism, strengthening security and building stability in many regions in the world... We are determined to address effectively the threats to our territory, forces and populations from wherever they may come."19 The summit agreements could be used to enable NATO to significantly extend its role and capabilities, in line with Bush administration thinking, beyond defence of allied territory to include intervention well beyond the Alliance's traditional transatlantic area.

In the event summit agreements concerning the "greater Middle East" were fairly low key, but they do underline an increasing NATO (and US) interest in the Middle East (as opposed to NATO's activities of the 1990s, which were essentially limited to within Europe). NATO's summit communiqué invited participants in the Alliance's "Mediterranean Dialogue"20 to establish a more ambitious and expanded partnership, including "enhancing the existing political dialogue, achieving interoperability, developing defence reform and contributing to the fight against terrorism."21 The summit also agreed an "Istanbul Cooperation Initiative" aimed at developing "mutually beneficial bilateral relationships" particularly in the defence and security sphere with countries in the Middle East region, to complement other international efforts such as the Quartet Road Map for settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.22

No Nuclear Reductions

In the run up to the Istanbul summit there appeared to be some prospect that NATO might announce long overdue reductions to the remaining US nuclear forces deployed in Europe for the purpose of NATO nuclear sharing. There have been a number of press reports that US nuclear weapons have already been withdrawn from the US base at Araxos in Greece, but there has been no official confirmation.

In March 2004 a briefing of NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) reportedly stated that NATO's Supreme Allied Commander General Jones had told a Belgian Senate Committee that, "the United States will significantly reduce its nuclear weapons in Europe... The reduction will be significant. Good news is on the way."23 However, this SHAPE briefing was subsequently removed from NATO's website, suggesting that somebody objected. Nonetheless, in a plenary meeting of the Belgian parliament on April 1, 2004, Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel stated, "in the first place, there was a meeting concerning NATO. In the second I can confirm that the USA is withdrawing part of its nuclear weapons arsenal from Europe. In the third place defence policy planning does not assume any changes for the air force base in Kleine Brogel [the US nuclear base in Belgium]."24

Notwithstanding these tantalising snippets, the NATO summit documents were completely silent on the subject of NATO nuclear weapons in Europe, although a fact sheet on NATO nuclear forces issued prior to the summit reiterated some of the most controversial language from NATO's 1999 Strategic Concept which had confirmed that the "presence of US nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provides an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance." The fact sheet continues, "the participation of non-nuclear countries in the Alliance nuclear posture demonstrates Alliance solidarity, the common commitment of its member countries to maintaining their security, and the widespread sharing among them of burdens and risks."25

A second fact sheet on NATO's position on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament also attempts to rebut allegations that have been made at a number of nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee meetings that NATO's nuclear sharing arrangements might be in breach of Articles I and II of the NPT. The fact sheet states, "The Alliance's arrangements for basing U.S. nuclear gravity bombs in Europe are in compliance with the NPT. When the Treaty was negotiated, these arrangements were already in place. Their nature was made clear to key delegations and subsequently made public. They were not challenged."26 This statement appears to confirm assertions made by non-governmental organisations that some of the delegations involved in negotiating the NPT were not informed of issues concerning NATO nuclear sharing at the time, only "subsequently", making it impossible for these delegations to have challenged them. The non-proliferation fact sheet also sets out NATO's view of the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, noting that, "the Court could not conclude definitively (7:7 vote) whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defence." The fact sheet then concludes, "Allies are convinced that the role of nuclear weapons in NATO's strategy fully conforms with international law."27

Although NATO members agreed at the Alliance's 1999 Washington Summit "to consider options for confidence and security building measures (CSBMs), verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament, in the light of overall strategic developments and the reduced salience of nuclear weapons", it is clear that this so-called "paragraph 32" review has resulted in no significant change in NATO nuclear posture. Although the review followed an initiative from Germany for NATO to adopt a No-First-Use policy, the 2004 fact sheets appears instead to set out NATO's opposition to such a posture. The fact sheet states, "The Alliance does not determine in advance how it would react to aggression. It leaves this question open, to be decided as and when such a situation materialized."28

Given the Bush administration's stance on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, the Istanbul summit itself was able to agree only the most minimal position on nuclear non-proliferation. Met perhaps with a degree of scepticism on the part of some NATO members (in view of the failure of NATO nuclear-weapon states to implement their own disarmament commitments under the NPT), the summit communiqué states, "we stress the importance of all states abiding by, and fully implementing, their arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation commitments... we underline our commitment to reinforcing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the cornerstone of non-proliferation and disarmament, and ensuring the full compliance with it by all states Party to the Treaty."29

The two fact sheets on NATO nuclear policy repeat many of the claims that the nuclear-weapon states have made at past NPT review meetings, outlining the reductions in their nuclear forces since the end of the Cold War, but no mention is made of implementing the Plan of Action (Thirteen Steps) on Nuclear Disarmament, agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. It seems unlikely that this will be sufficient to convince non-nuclear weapon states at next year's NPT Review Conference that the NATO nuclear weapon states are fulfilling their commitments under Article VI.

Transformation or Irrelevance

Although the Istanbul Declaration emphasises the need for "unity" and the "indivisibility of Allied security", it is clear from the war with Iraq that the Bush administration is willing to take action with or without NATO. But the row over NATO involvement in Iraq has done permanent damage to the relation of some NATO members with the Bush administration, and it remains to be seen whether this will extend to future US governments. Many allies are now reluctant to do anything that might enhance the standing of George Bush in the run up to the US Presidential election and they therefore remain unwilling to make any significant contribution to a NATO operation in Iraq.

Following the summit, a small NATO team comprising 50 officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs), led by Major General Carel Hilderink of the Netherlands has arrived in Iraq, but once again, not all NATO countries are represented. Despite the united front displayed to the world's media at the Istanbul summit, the failure of the summit to agree any substantial NATO presence in Iraq is a major embarrassment for the Bush administration.

Bush is clearly pushing for NATO to move away from its previous collective defence mission towards a era in which the role of the Alliance is to provide political and military backing for US foreign policy objectives, potentially well beyond NATO's own borders and without the need for any UN Security Council resolutions. However, the experience of Iraq should provide ample warning of the dangers of unilateral action, the consequences of ignoring traditional allies in favour of ad hoc coalitions of the willing, and the problems caused by embarking on military operations without international legitimacy.


1. 'President Bush Discusses Early Transfer of Iraqi Sovereignty', The White House, June 28, 2004.

2. 'Statement on Iraq', NATO Press Release, June 28, 2004.

3. Istanbul summit documents are available on the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy website at http://www.acronym.org.uk/docs.

4. 'Istanbul Summit Communiqué', NATO Press Release, June 28, 2004.

5. 'Transcript of Remarks by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov at Press Conference Following Russia-NATO Council Session,' Istanbul, June 28, 2004, http://www.russianembassy.org.

6. 'Press Conference by U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of NATO Foreign Ministers', NATO HQ, December 4, 2003.

7. 'Security and Strength for a New World', Remarks of John Kerry, May 27, 2004.

8. 'Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan', White House, May 27, 2004.

9. 'President Bush Discusses the Iraqi Interim Government', White House, June 1, 2004.

10. 'President Bush, Prime Minister Blair Discuss Iraq at G8 Summit', White House, June 9, 2004.

11. 'Excerpts from President Chirac's Press Briefing', G8 Summit, Sea Island, Georgia, June 9, 2004.

12. 'NATO Summit Press Conference given by M. Jacques Chirac, President of the Republic', Excerpts, Istanbul, June 28, 2004.

13. Ibid.

14. See Nicola Butler, 'NATO'S Future: To the Greater Middle East and Beyond?', Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue No. 75, January/February 2004.

15. 'Burns Outlines NATO's Future in the Greater Middle East', U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns in Prague, Washington File, October 19, 2003.

16. 'Washington Summit Communiqué', NATO Press Release, April 24, 1999.

17. 'The Alliance's Strategic Concept', NATO Press Release, April 24, 1999.

18. 'The Istanbul Declaration: Our security in a new era', NATO Press Release, June 28, 2004.

19. Ibid.

20. The participants in NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue are all non-NATO members in the Middle East and North Africa: currently Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia.

21. 'Istanbul Summit Communiqué', NATO Press Release, June 28, 2004.

22. Ibid.

23. Information received from Karel Koster, AMOK, referring to a SHAPE briefing on March 10, 2004.

24. Karel Koster, 'NATO Nuclear Doctrine and the NPT', BASIC Briefings, June 29, 2004.

25. 'NATO's Nuclear Forces in the New Security Environment', NATO Issues, June 3, 2004.

26. 'NATO's Positions Regarding Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament and Related Issues', NATO Issues, June 3, 2004.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid.

29. Op Cit, 'Istanbul Summit Communiqué'.

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The Istanbul Declaration Our security in a new era Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Istanbul on 28 June 2004, NATO Press Release (2004)097 28 June 2004

Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Istanbul on 28 June 2004, NATO Press Release (2004)097.
NATO, http://www.nato.int.

We, the Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, meet today in Istanbul to renew our commitment to collective defence, and to address together NATO's response to the security challenges we face at the beginning of the 21st century.

NATO embodies the vital partnership between Europe and North America. Our Alliance is founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. Those values, rooted in the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Washington Treaty, underlie the unique character of the transatlantic link.

We celebrate NATO's critical role in fostering the spread of freedom throughout Europe. Today, we welcome seven new members. Their participation in this Summit demonstrates that we remain committed to a Europe whole, free and at peace. We pledge again that our Alliance remains open to all European democracies, regardless of geography, willing and able to meet the responsibilities of membership, and whose inclusion would enhance overall security and stability in Europe.

Collective defence remains the core purpose of the Alliance. But the threats that NATO faces have changed substantially. We remain committed to address vigorously the threats facing our Alliance, taking into account that they emanate from a far wider area than in the past. They include terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. North America and Europe face these threats together. NATO is engaged in fighting terrorism, strengthening security and building stability in many regions in the world. Now as ever, unity within the Alliance is essential, and the principle of the indivisibility of Allied security is fundamental. We are determined to address effectively the threats to our territory, forces and populations from wherever they may come.

The Alliance is adapting to meet these security challenges through its military operations and activities, its engagement with partners and its continued transformation of military capabilities.

Today, we have approved a major expansion of NATO's role in Afghanistan in support of the Afghan Authorities. We will commit the resources needed to make this mission a success.

NATO is also leading military operations in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, and supporting Poland's leadership of the Multinational Division in Iraq. We have also issued a separate statement on Iraq.

The decision to end NATO's nine year mission in Bosnia marks its success in ending the war and keeping the peace in that country. We welcome the decision of the European Union to mount a new operation in Bosnia, and look forward to continued cooperation.

NATO continues to build closer cooperation on common security concerns with the European Union and with states in Europe, including Russia, Ukraine and the states of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as with states of the Mediterranean and the Broader Middle East. Today, we have taken decisions aimed at strengthening these relationships further in order to cooperate effectively in addressing the challenges of the 21st century.

NATO is transforming its military capabilities in order to adapt to the changing strategic environment. The new command structure, the NATO Response Force, and the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Deference battalion are progressing. Together, they give NATO much stronger and faster military capabilities. But transformation is a process, not an event. We are therefore committed to continued transformation and to further strengthen our operational capabilities and procedures so that our forces are more deployable and usable. To this end, we invite the Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council in permanent session to take the steps necessary to ensure that the transformation process is fully implemented, and to report to us at the next NATO Summit.

The North Atlantic Alliance has confronted challenge and change throughout its history, yet has always proved resilient in adapting to new situations. As we face a new era of danger and hope, NATO remains our vital multilateral bridge across the Atlantic, complementing a common political approach with its military capabilities. We renew our commitment to consult, deliberate and act together as Allies. We are confident that NATO will remain our indispensable instrument in defending our freedom and security.

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Statement on Iraq Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Istanbul on 28 June 2004, NATO Press Release (2004)098, June 28, 2004

Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Istanbul on 28 June 2004, NATO Press Release (2004)098.
NATO, http://www.nato.int.

We, the 26 Heads of State and Government of the nations of the Atlantic Alliance, meeting in Istanbul, declare our full support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq and for strengthening of freedom, democracy, human rights, rule of law and security for all the Iraqi people.

We welcome the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1546 under Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations as an important step towards Iraq's political transition to democratic government. We pledge our full support for the effective implementation of UNSCR 1546.

We are united in our support for the Iraqi people and offer full cooperation to the new sovereign Interim Government as it seeks to strengthen internal security and prepare the way to national elections in 2005.

We deplore and call for an immediate end to all terrorist attacks in Iraq. Terrorist activities in and from Iraq also threaten the security of its neighbours and the region as a whole.

We continue to support Poland in its leadership of the multinational division in south central Iraq. We also acknowledge the efforts of nations, including many NATO Allies, in the Multinational Force for Iraq, which is present in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government and in accordance with UNSCR 1546. We fully support the Multinational Force in its mission to help restore and maintain security, including protection of the United Nations presence, under its mandate from the Security Council.

In response to the request of the Iraqi Interim Government, and in accordance with Resolution 1546 which requests international and regional organisations to contribute assistance to the Multinational Force, we have decided today to offer NATO's assistance to the government of Iraq with the training of its security forces. We therefore also encourage nations to contribute to the training of the Iraqi armed forces.

We have asked the North Atlantic Council to develop on an urgent basis the modalities to implement this decision with the Iraqi Interim Government.

We have also asked the North Atlantic Council to consider, as a matter of urgency and on the basis of a report by the Secretary General, further proposals to support the nascent Iraqi security institutions in response to the request of the Iraqi Interim Government and in accordance with UNSCR 1546.

Source: NATO, http://www.nato.int.

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© 2004 The Acronym Institute.