Bot applauds early transfer of power to Iraqis

28th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

28 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM — As Nato agreed at a three-day summit in Istanbul to help train Iraqi's armed forces, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Ben Bot backed the earlier- than-planned transfer of power to the Iraqis on Monday.

28 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — As Nato agreed at a three-day summit in Istanbul to help train Iraqi's armed forces, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Ben Bot backed the earlier- than-planned transfer of power to the Iraqis on Monday.

A spokesman for the minister — who was attending the summit with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende — said the early handover of power was wise given the violence witnessed across Iraq in recent days, news agency ANP reported.

He also said the fact that US President George Bush announced the transfer of power at the summit indicated that all Nato member states are united and serious about the transfer of power in the lead up to democratic elections in Iraq, scheduled for January 2005.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the 26 Nato member states have formally agreed to offer training to Iraq's security forces. But the question of whether the training should take place inside or outside Iraq appears to have been left open, BBC reported.

The decision on Monday came after Minister Bot spoke with the Iraqi Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers. Furthermore, Nato ambassadors discussed Iraq on Sunday on the eve of the summit, where they hammered out the draft agreement on the training to be provided to Iraq's armed forces.

It is not yet known when the training operation will start, nor how many personnel will be involved, but Nato leaders encouraged each other on Monday to contribute personnel to the operation.  

But Defence Minister Henk Kamp previously indicated on Sunday that the Netherlands was already doing enough to train Iraqi soldiers. There are presently 1,350 Dutch troops in the southern Iraqi province al-Muthanna. They have already trained 2,800 Iraqis.

Dutch MPs approved an eight-month extension of the nation's peacekeeping mission in Iraq last week and the first deployment of replacement troops was departing from Eindhoven on Monday.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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