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    SCOPE AND SPHERE OF ISAF IN AFGHANISTAN TO BROADEN

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    BRUSSELS, APRIL 2. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- At a session in Brussels on Friday, the NATO Council in the format of 26 members approved the plan for broadening the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, NATO Secretary General Jap de Hoop Sheffer told the press conference in Brussels.

    To him, the plan is pending approval at the NATO summit meeting in Istanbul in late June. Sheffer said that now the ISAF contingent numbers 6,500 servicemen. He also informed that the NATO Council voiced support for Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan.

    As regards the possible participation of NATO in settling Iraq, conferees voiced readiness to consider the relative request from the Iraqi authorities, Sheffer said.

    At the same time, the NATO secretary general said that 17 old members of NATO have sent their servicemen to Iraq.

    As regards the Kosovo situation, also in consideration by the NATO Council, Sheffer spoke up for the non-admission of ethnic violence, adding that the North Atlantic Alliance is the key guarantor of security and peace in the region.

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