Trump stoked speculation about a bigger North Atlantic Treaty Organisation footprint in the Middle East a month ago after Iran carried out attacks in Iraq on two bases used by American troops as retaliation for a USA airstrike that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. "This is obviously a positive development". The mission was suspended due to security concerns after Soleimani's death, with some Canadian troops moved to neighbouring Kuwait.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters the alliance's Iraq mission would restart "as soon as possible" but said there had been no decision on how many troops would be re-assigned from the US -led coalition.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization pledged to expand its training mission in Iraq as a quick initial response to U.S. President Donald Trump's call for the alliance to play a bigger role in the Middle East.
The mission was put on hold on January 4, and some North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops moved out of Iraq, amid fears of reprisal attacks after the U.S. killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in the strike on Baghdad.More news: The Game pays tribute to Kobe Bryant with new tattoo
The news comes after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence ministers agreed to expand the Iraq mission by taking on troops and activities now run by the US-led multinational coalition against the Islamic State group.
Further down the line, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation plans to look at what more it can do help fight terrorism and build stability in the wider Middle East, responding to a call by US President Donald Trump. But he would not speculate on the future of the roughly 200 Canadian special forces in Iraq.
"I wouldn't talk about more or less troops", he said. And we were doing quite a bit based on the needs.
The transfer could include as many as 200 soldiers, said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation sources. A second step, possibly over the summer, would see the mission's mandate changed to take over more activities now handled by the coalition. He declined to provide details.More news: IEA Sees First Global Oil Demand Drop in a Decade
Two anonymous diplomats, however, told Reuters that an increase to 2,000 for the force might come not via new deployments, but rather through a reassignment of troops now operating as part of the US-led coalition - a structure separate from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. He also said there had been no decision on how many troops would be re-assigned from the USA -led coalition.
Exactly how many troops will move and what activities they will do are matters still under discussion, though Spain has already said it is willing to transfer personnel.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is ready to expand its military training effort in Iraq, the alliance's top civilian official said Wednesday, but the Iraqi government is not yet ready to approve the move. The first step would be to expand the training to three more bases in central Iraq.More news: Beijing names Xi ally to oversee Hong Kong