No role for NATO in Iraq — Rasmussen

BRUSSELS, June 13 (PNA/ITAR-TASS) — NATO does not have a mandate on stabilizing the situation in Iraq, where militants from the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) seized several crucial areas, NATO press service cited Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as saying.

“I don’t see a role for NATO in Iraq. And we don’t have a mandate or request on Iraq,” Rasmussen said, adding that the Alliance was closely following the developments in the country.

NATO ambassadors held an emergency meeting on June 11, at which Turkey briefed the other allies on the developments in the Iraqi city of Mosul and the situation with captured Turkish diplomats.

“We urge the hostage takers to release the hostages immediately,” Rasmussen said.

Militants seize crucial areas in Iraq

On Wednesday, ISIS militants seized the Iraqi town of Baiji in the north of the Salah-a-din province (located around 200km to the north-west of Baghdad). Iraq’s Interior Ministry said the extremists had destroyed several government buildings and surrounded a local oil refinery.

The police said the militants put on fire the Interior Ministry’s facilities and the city court and seized army weapons caches. Security forces continue to defend the refinery. Security services say the extremists are gradually approaching oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan. (PNA/Itar-Tass)