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Top NATO Commanders Recommend Joining Anti-IS Coalition

NATO Military Committee chief Petr Pavel

Top NATO commanders have recommended that the military alliance join the international coalition fighting the Islamic State extremist group.

The chairman of the NATO military committee, General Petr Pavel, said on May 17 in Brussels that "there is merit for NATO becoming a member of that coalition."

Pavel said the alliance's military leaders agreed "that NATO can and should do more" to increase the capacity of Iraq and other countries fighting IS to better defend themselves.

He said the final decision will rest with NATO heads of state and government when they meet in Brussels on May 25.

NATO's role could include training local forces and helping to build militaries and institutions.

NATO countries do not want the alliance engaged in active combat against Islamic State militants, even though all are individual members of the anti-IS coalition.

U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded that NATO do more to combat terrorism.

Trump is scheduled to meet NATO leaders in Brussels next week

With reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels and AP