NATO Secretary General Says Sees No Role for Alliance in Iraq

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, June 3, 2014NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday he saw no role for Western alliance in Iraq after Islamist militants seized swathes of territory in the country and took 80 Turkish citizens hostage.

“NATO’s role is the defense of our allies… and we don’t have a mandate or request on Iraq,” said Rasmussen, who also condemned the violence and called for immediate release of the hostages.

“We urge the hostage takers to release the hostages immediately. Nothing can justify this criminal act … I don’t see a role for NATO in Iraq, but of course we follow the situation closely and urge all parties involved to stop the violence,” he said during a conference in Madrid.

NATO ambassadors held an emergency meeting at Turkey’s request on Wednesday at which Turkey briefed the other allies on the situation in the Iraqi city of Mosul and the hostages.

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Image: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, June 3, 2014 (photo: NATO)