The NATO mission in Iraq vowed to continue supporting the country's security forces through training and military advice, reaffirming that their presence is at the federal government’s request.
Lieutenant General José Antonio Agüero Martínez of Spain assumed command of NATO Mission Iraq during a ceremony in Baghdad. He succeeded Lieutenant General Giovanni Maria Iannucci of Italy.
Also, Brigadier General Stewart Manosh said they were honored to be in Iraq, noting that the command transfer ceremony reaffirms their engagement in Iraq.
Manosh also said that the partnership requires cooperation with Iraqi officials.
Manosh stressed that the NATO mission in Iraq is a strong entity based on good relationships established by Commander Lannucci with Iraqi officials.
For his part, Lannucci said the Iraqi army was founded in 1921, describing it as “one of the strongest armies in the region.”
He also praised the Iraqi Army's culture, traditions, and capability to maintain Iraq's security.
NATO’s affirmation that its forces’ presence in Iraq is upon the government’s request comes one day after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad al-Sudani attended the Iraqi Air Force's Ababil/1 exercise on Tuesday in Balad Air Base.
The Media Office of the PM said that his government agenda prioritizes raising the capabilities of the Iraqi army to the highest levels.
“Today, we gather under the great wings of the heroic Iraqi Air Force planes as they execute their remarkable Ababil/1 exercise. This exercise serves as a demonstration of the exceptional preparedness displayed by our pilots, technicians, and all dedicated crew members,” said the PM.
“Today's exemplary performance marks a significant stride in our ongoing mission to strengthen and enhance our armed forces, embodying our commitment to enhancing the army's efficiency to unprecedented levels of professionalism and excellence.”
“We encourage partners to participate in constructive military cooperation to improve security, deliver a message of reassurance in Iraq’s capabilities and stability, and enhance regional security,” he added.