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9/29/04 - NATO EXPANDS IRAQI TRAINING  - 2004-09-30


NATO will create a full-fledged military training academy in Iraq. U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns said, “The U.S. is proud to undertake with its allies the expansion of the mission in Iraq.” The U.S., he said, will provide “considerable financial and other resources” for the training mission.

The program will train mid-level and high-ranking Iraqi officers, and NATO may offer additional training to Iraqi forces outside the country. Since its creation in July, the NATO training mission has helped Iraq develop its defense structure. It also plays a role in coordinating provision of equipment and training from individual countries.

In addition to more than one-hundred-thirty-thousand U.S. troops in Iraq, another twenty-three-thousand troops from some thirty other countries are helping to establish security there. The task is not easy. As President George W. Bush pointed out, “a democratic Iraq has ruthless enemies.” But coalition forces in Iraq are confronting the insurgents and terrorists, says Mr. Bush:

“Our coalition is standing beside a growing Iraqi security force. The NATO alliance is providing vital training to that force. More than thirty-five nations have contributed money and expertise to help rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure. And as the Iraqi interim government moves toward national elections, officials from the United Nations are helping Iraqis build the infrastructure of democracy.”

As Iraq gets closer to elections, terrorist attacks are likely to increase. President Bush says this will not shake the conviction of the U.S.-led coalition. “The proper response to difficulty,” said Mr. Bush, “is not to retreat, it is to prevail.”

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