Rumsfeld ups pressure on NATO over Iraq

24th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

24 November 2004 , WASHINGTON - The refusal by some NATO countries, including Germany, to participate in Iraq missions poses a "problem" for the cohesiveness of the military alliance, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. NATO's top officer, US Marine General James Jones, described the development as "disturbing". The 26 nations on NATO's political body voted unanimously in October to send about 300 troops to Iraq to train the Iraqi military, but almost half the countries refused to allow their soldie

24 November 2004

WASHINGTON - The refusal by some NATO countries, including Germany, to participate in Iraq missions poses a "problem" for the cohesiveness of the military alliance, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.

NATO's top officer, US Marine General James Jones, described the development as "disturbing".

The 26 nations on NATO's political body voted unanimously in October to send about 300 troops to Iraq to train the Iraqi military, but almost half the countries refused to allow their soldiers to participate.

When countries say their officers cannot participate, Rumsfeld complained, it disrupts the alliance's chain of command and ability to carry out missions.

Rumsfeld compared the problem to a basketball team that trains together but when it's time to play the game, one or two players drop out.

It's like saying, "We agree that NATO could do it, but we are not going to let our people in those headquarters do it," Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon. "That's a problem."

Germany, France and Belgium are among the countries who will not send troops. The three countries steadfastly opposed the war, but Germany has agreed to train Iraqi soldiers in programmes now being conducted outside Iraq.

Jones said that by refusing to contribute to the effort, some countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are placing a burden on the rest of the alliance to complete the mission.

"It's important to recognize that once the alliance gets involved in an operation, it is important that all allies support the operation," Jones said. "And we have a requirement in Iraq to execute a mission, but with nine or 10 or 11 countries in the alliance who will not send forces into Iraq to participate in the mission, the burden falls on the remaining" nations.

During Jones' speech at the National Press Club in Washington, he re-emphasized remarks he made earlier this month to The Financial Times.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

 

 

 

 

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