NATO member states are expected to formally join a US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, according to several diplomatic sources.
The decision by the North Atlantic Council, the highest decision-making body within NATO, is expected to be officially announced at a meeting of the alliance’s leaders on Thursday.
“The NATO (member state) ambassadors decided this evening an action plan on terrorism for the summit. It includes the accession of NATO to the global coalition against IS,” one diplomat told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.
The decision is mainly political because all 28 NATO member states are already individually part of the coalition, with some only taking part in support roles.
It comes on the back of pressure from US President Donald Trump, who has urged NATO members to do more in the fight against ISIL.
Diplomats said France and Germany will agree to the US plan, but insist the move is purely symbolic.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said earlier that “many allies would like to see NATO as a full member of the coalition …because it sends a strong message of unity”.
He added that in light of Monday’s attack in Manchester, “it is important to send this message of unity against terrorism”.
Stoltenberg has previously stressed that there has been “no discussion at all of engaging NATO in a combat role” if it officially joins the coalition.
He also noted that besides sending a political signal of unity against terrorism, NATO’s formal entry into the coalition would help allies improve coordination and provide better information flows.
source: al jazeera