Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has urged Nato to launch a promised programme to train the Iraq’s army.
Speaking after a visit to Nato headquarters in Brussels, Mr Zebari said Iraq was in a race against time as it tried to deal with insurgents.
The alliance agreed in June to provide the training, and its 26 members will take a decision later this month on what form it will take.
France has opposed US calls for a visible Nato presence in Iraq.
President Jacques Chirac said at the Nato summit in Istanbul last month that the training should be done outside the country or by individual nations on a bilateral basis.
‘Matter of urgency’
Mr Zebari, however, was adamant that the training should be carried out inside Iraq.
“We need this training you promised us in Istanbul to be carried out as soon as possible,” he said. “We need it, in fact we are in a race against time and it’s a matter of urgency.”
He added that the UN needed security for its facilities and personnel.
Nato Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who held talks with Mr Zebari, said he would present the allies with a new proposal later this month which goes further than the promises made in Istanbul.
Nato would consider other Iraqi requests including for military equipment, help in protecting borders and security for the future UN mission, he said.
Meanwhile US Nato ambassador Nicholas Burns said he had assured the Iraqi foreign minister of full support in pushing for a training programme in Iraq.
A Nato delegation visited Baghdad last week to determine what Iraq needed from the alliance.