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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 19:12 GMT 20:12 UK
Nato reaches deal to train Iraqis
Iraqi soldier on guard near Falluja
The Iraqi government is keen for Nato to make good on its promise
Nato countries have agreed to start training Iraqi security forces next month, side-stepping a dispute between France and the US.

Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said a small advance team would head to Iraq as soon as possible.

A decision on the command arrangements will be postponed until the team reports back in September.

France objects to Washington's proposal that the training mission - which was agreed in June - come under US control.

"It's a distinct Nato mission," Mr de Hoop Scheffer told reporters on Friday.

But he said the US-led multinational force would give protection and "there should be a relationship between the training mission and multinational force in Iraq".

Washington has argued that the Nato mission should be linked to the multinational force.

France was initially opposed to a Nato presence in Iraq. It dropped those objections but remained against placing the mission under a US general.

Iraq's interim Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has been urging the 26-member alliance to quickly carry out its pledge, made at a summit in Istanbul, to train security forces.

Mr Zebari said earlier this month that Iraqi authorities were "in a race against the clock" in their effort to bring stability to the country.


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