World Bulletin/News Desk
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday he saw no role for Western alliance in Iraq after militants seized swathes of territory in the country and took 80 Turkish citizens hostage.
"NATO's role is the defence 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.
Rasmussen also said that Spain had agreed to send four fighter aircraft to reinforce NATO air patrols over the Baltic states this autumn.
A number of NATO allies, including the United States, Britain, Denmark, France, Canada and Germany, have offered extra fighters to patrol the skies over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania or elsewhere in eastern Europe.
The Baltic states have no fighter aircraft of their own and so rely on other NATO members to send fighters to the region for four-month stints.
Spain, like many other European countries, has cut defence spending in response to the 2008 financial crisis. But Rasmussen and U.S. leaders are pressing allies to reverse the cuts in response to the Russian actions in Ukraine.
Rasmussen said he "encouraged Spain to look into its defence spending once its economic situation improves".Last Mod: 12 Haziran 2014, 23:43