ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – NATO will launch a new training mission in Iraq to help the government stabilize the country and, in turn, address the causes of migrant and refugee flows to Europe, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters after his arrival at the doorstep of the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, where European Union (EU) leaders are expected to discuss the migrant crisis in the region, Stoltenberg said NATO wants to tackle the “root causes” of the problem.
“We are going to launch a new training mission in Iraq,” Stoltenberg said in response to a question from Kurdistan 24 correspondent Barzan Hassan. “We are helping the Iraqi government to stabilize its own country, that’s the best way to help also to deal with the migrant and refugee crisis.”
EU and NATO leaders “will discuss how we can work even closer together on addressing the migrant and refugee crisis,” the Secretary-General said of Thursday’s meeting.
“What NATO does is we are addressing the root causes, trying to stabilize the countries in our neighborhood,” he added.
Stoltenberg also told Kurdistan 24 that NATO is in constant dialogue with the EU to help implement the agreement between Turkey, the EU, and NATO allies regarding the flow of migrants.
Since the civil war began in Syria in 2011 followed by the so-called Islamic State’s emergence in the country and neighboring Iraq in mid-2014, over three million people have sought refuge in Turkey.
In 2016, Ankara signed an agreement with the EU to control the influx of migrants through the Aegean Sea by cracking down on human traffickers and have since been working to maintain and strengthen cooperation.
(Additional reporting by Kurdistan 24 correspondent Barzan Hassan in Belgium)