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NATO Mission in Iraq Stalls Over Reported French, Belgian Objections - 2004-09-17

Reservations by France and Belgium have blocked agreement on a plan to expand NATO's mission in Iraq.

Diplomats say disagreements emerged Friday during a meeting of European Union Defense Ministers in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The Belgian and French objections involve the financing of the mission and the protection of alliance military instructors in Iraq.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer acknowledged that differences among the alliance's member states remain, but he expressed confidence members will soon come to an agreement.

The secretary-general told reporters he has scheduled a meeting of NATO envoys for Monday in Brussels to discuss the differences.

NATO currently has officers in Iraq to help train Iraqi security forces and offer logistical support to the Polish-led peacekeepers in that country.