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."


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Referendum on Scottish independence is the first major election in the UK where 16 and 17-year olds get a vote.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Farmers worry about their future as buyers shun local produce and rivers show an elevated presence of heavy metals.
War-torn neighbour is an uncertain haven for refugees fleeing Pakistan's Balochistan, where locals seek independence.
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
join our mailing list