The European Union will consider sending a new security mission to help stabilise Iraq after the expected recapture of Mosul from Islamic State, EU foreign ministers said on Monday.
EU foreign ministers held a first discussion in Luxembourg and agreed to consider the deployment of an EU Security Sector Reform Advice and Assist Team, which could train Iraq security officials, according to a statement released after the meeting.
"I hope this can be put in place rapidly enough, hopefully in the coming months, so we can provide all our advice and assistance to the Iraqi authorities," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a news conference.
Iraq has formally requested EU help, diplomats said.
Iraqi forces are slowly advancing in Islamic State's last stronghold in the Old City of Mosul. A senior commander of the US-backed Iraqi
forces said the assault was the final stage of the ninth-month battle for Mosul.
The EU mission would not take part in the actual combat but would train Iraqi forces, which would help to maintain order after Islamic State is driven out. US officials are concerned tribal groups may fight for control as the militants flee.