ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will convene in Brussels on Monday to discuss ongoing developments in the Middle East, a NATO official said.
“The North Atlantic Council will address the situation in the region,” Germany’s Deutsche Welle quoted an unnamed NATO official as saying.
“The secretary general decided to convene the meeting of NATO ambassadors following consultation with allies.”
The gathering comes after a US drone strike last week on a convoy near the Baghdad airport killed Qasim Soleimani, long-time head of the Quds Force, the paramilitary arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard.
The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the head of the Iranian-backed Shia militia, Kata’ib Hizbollah, which was responsible for killing a US contractor on Dec. 27 in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base near Kirkuk.
Meanwhile, a NATO spokesperson said on Saturday that training missions in Iraq had been suspended after the killing of Soleimani.
“NATO’s mission [in Iraq] is continuing, but training activities are currently suspended,” spokesperson Dylan White said.
On Sunday, the US-led Coalition against the Islamic State also announced it was suspending operations against the terrorist group to focus on ensuring the security of the military bases in Iraq from which its troops operate.
Another complicating factor is the vote of the Iraqi parliament late on Sunday, when it approved a draft bill, calling for an end to the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.
Kurdish and Sunni parliamentarians boycotted the extraordinary session of Iraq’s Council of Representatives. However, the draft measure was approved by the Council’s Shia members, who constitute a majority in the parliament and Iraq as a whole.
A formal vote on the bill is scheduled for next Saturday.