NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg spoke with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday and agreed that the western allies should take a more prominent role in the Middle East.

“The President asked the secretary general for NATO to become more involved in the Middle East,” a NATO statement said, after the call between Washington and Brussels.

“They agreed that NATO could contribute more to regional stability and the fight against international terrorism.”

Earlier on Wednesday, in a statement about Iranian missile strikes on US bases in Iraq, Trump had said: “Today I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process.”

The 70-year-old Atlantic alliance boasts that it is the most successful in history, and was the lynchpin of Western European security throughout the Cold War.

But its role, and indeed its founding treaty, has been focused on Europe and North America, despite the challenges facing the allied militaries in Asia, North Africa and the Near East.

NATO has a roughly 500-strong training mission in Iraq, but it has been suspended since Friday’s US strike killing Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.

Some of the allied troops attached to the mission have been withdrawn from Iraq for their safety, but Stoltenberg has described this as a temporary measure.

Trump has often criticised Washington’s European allies for not pulling their weight, as he sees it, within the alliance, but Stoltenberg has said they are ready.

The NATO statement did not go into detail as to what more the allies could do in Iraq and the crisis with Iran, but the leaders “agreed to stay in close contact on the issue.”

“NATO plays a key role in the fight against international terrorism,” it said, citing training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and the coalition against ISIL.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

An American policeman killed George Floyd. Now Europe is re-examining its colonial history

London and Bristol, England (CNN)At an old stone harbor in the English city of Bristol, young people gather at a bent railing by the water and peer into the murky deep. They’re looking for the defaced statue of the 17th…

Russia’s war for influence in Lithuania is waged with TV and baseball

When Rimvydas Valatka signed up to a new cable TV package recently he was surprised to see — alongside the usual news, sports and sitcoms — at least six stations that broadcast in Russian. Around the same time, Valatka, an…

Gilead’s Remdesivir is first coronavirus drug to get FDA approval

Antiviral therapy has already been widely used in hospitalised Covid-19 patients after being granted emergency-use authorisation earlier this year Remdesivir was given to Trump when US president was diagnosed with virus earlier this month The US Food and Drug Administration…

Africa backs WHO, needs help with debt relief, supplies: Ramaphosa

GENEVA (Reuters) – South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that Africa affirms its “full support” for the World Health Organization (WHO) which he said had been key in guiding the international response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ramaphosa, speaking…