BRUSSELS - NATO has agreed "in principle" to take over some of the training activities carried out by the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State terror group in Iraq, according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
"Today allied ministers reaffirmed our support to Iraq and agreed in principle to enhance NATO’s training mission," Stoltenberg said at a news conference Wednesday after a meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers in Brussels.
NATO’s chief said this would consist of handling some of the coalition’s current training, a direct response to demands from the Trump administration for European allies to do more in the Middle East.
Moments ahead of the announcement, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told a small group of reporters that he felt confident NATO allies would increase their presence in Iraq, but that the move would take time.
The United States is hoping NATO partners will send additional forces to Iraq to allow some American forces to pull out. The change would not require more Western troops in Iraq and would have to be done with the consent of the Iraqi government.
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