[QODLink]
Middle East

France to send arms to Iraqi Kurds

Paris says it will begin sending arms to Kurdish forces to enable them fight Islamic State group.

Last updated: 13 Aug 2014 23:19
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
France also pledged to deliver humanitarian aid including medicine, tents and water treatment equipment [Reuters]

France has said it will start supplying arms to the Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State group, calling the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan "catastrophic".

The shipment of French arms, which the government refused to describe on Wednesday, follows the United States' increased role in fighting Islamic State fighters.

France said its arms shipment was coordinated with the Iraqi government.

Meanwhile, Germany expressed its readiness to bend its restrictive policies on weapons exports and arm Kurdish fighters battling the IS.

"We cannot just leave Kurdistan on its own and watch as people are slaughtered there," Frank-Walter Steinmeir, the German foreign minister, said on Wednesday.

"If necessary, if the current threat level persists, I cannot rule out that we will have to deliver weapons." 

The move came a day after the European Union failed to agree on a joint position on supplying weapons to Iraqi Kurds, but has said individual members could send arms in coordination with Baghdad.

EU meeting

The EU foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the conflicts in Iraq and Ukraine, the EU said on Wednesday.

Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, "has decided to convene an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council this Friday, 15 August, in Brussels on the EU's response to major ongoing crises, focusing on Iraq and Ukraine," a spokesman for Ashton said.

Meanwhile, France pledged on Wednesday to deliver a new 20-tonne shipment of humanitarian aid including medicine, tents and water treatment equipment to Erbil later in the day.

French authorities have pushed other European Union members to do more to aid minorities being targeted by the Islamic State group.

A high-level EU diplomatic meeting late on Tuesday ended with a statement that it would consider the Kurdish request for urgent military support "in close coordination with Iraqi authorities."

290

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.