Portuguese military trainers in Iraq 'calm, safe'

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 06-01-2020 19:00:00 · 0 Comments

The Minister of Defence told Lusa on Monday that the 35 Portuguese military in Iraq are "calm and safe", waiting for the resumption of suspended training, and argued that it is premature to talk about withdrawal.

Joao Gomes Cravinho said he is "in permanent contact" with the military on the ground and that the situation in Iraq, both the capital, Baghdad, and the military base of Besmayah, indicates that the military "are well and there is no immediate danger.

"We have our military perfectly calm and safeguarded. Besmayah is 40 kilometres from Baghdad and it is a sheltered place. They are fine and there is no immediate danger," he said.

The minister of defence confirmed that the training and education provided by the Portuguese at the Besmayah military base is suspended and said the government maintains a position of "prudence", awaiting developments in the situation.

For now, the minister of defense considered it premature to talk about withdrawing the Portuguese military from the mission and, he said, "there must be a very close dialogue with the Iraqi authorities to see what they want to do".

For Gomes Cravinho, it only makes sense to reassess the maintenance of the Portuguese contingent "if the suspension of training is prolonged".

The 34 military currently in the international coalition are exclusively concerned with training and education of Iraqi forces.


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