Belgium would not veto Nato Iraq force

26th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

May 26 2004, BRUSSELS - Belgium would not try to stop Nato sending troops to Iraq if the alliance decided to take such action but it would not provide any of its own soldiers, the Belgian Foreign Minister has confirmed.

May 26 2004

BRUSSELS - Belgium would not try to stop Nato sending troops to Iraq if the alliance decided to take such action but it would not provide any of its own soldiers, the Belgian Foreign Minister has confirmed.

Speaking on Tuesday after meeting in Washington with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Foreign Minister Louis Michel stressed that he did not believe it would be a good idea for Nato to get involved in military operations in Iraq.  

"Afghanistan should remain Nato's priority. A greater role in Iraq would not be reasonable," he said.

But the Belgian Foreign Minister added that if the alliance as a whole decided it did want to send troops to the Middle Eastern country, "Belgium would not use its veto."

Michel made it clear however that his country would opt out of any Nato operation in Iraq.

The Foreign Minister's comments follow similar remarks made by Belgian Defence Minster Andre Flahaut earlier this week.

Washington wants Nato to play a bigger role in Iraq and a majority of the alliance's 26 members already have some troops on the ground in the country, but in an individual, national capacity as part of the US-led coalition there.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

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