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NATO: Iraq Training Mission To End on December 31

U.S. soldiers observe Iraqi police cadets shoot as they train at a firing range at a training base in the town of Hillah.
NATO says it will end a police and army training mission in Iraq by the end of the year.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement that the extension of the program "did not prove possible, despite robust negotiations conducted over several weeks."

Rasmussen said that, since its launch in 2004 -- in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- the NATO mission had trained more than 5,000 Iraqi soldiers and 10,000 police officers and provided more than 115 million euros ($152 million).

On November 29, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq was studying a contract to extend NATO's presence in Iraq beyond year-end, but noted that such a deal would not grant its troops immunity from prosecution.

compiled from agency reports