'We need a global strategy against IS'

French President will propose international conference on threat posed by Islamic State in Iraq.

PARIS – French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday he would arrange a conference next month on the threat posed by Islamic extremists in Iraq, describing the current international situation as “the most serious since 2001”.

“I think we are in the most serious international situation since 2001… I will therefore soon propose a conference on security in Iraq and the fight against Islamic State,” Hollande told Le Monde daily.

A version of the interview provided by his office had specified that Hollande would lay out an “initiative… from September” but this did not appear in the final version of the Le Monde text.

“We need a global strategy against this group which is well structured, which is well financed and has very sophisticated weapons and which is threatening countries like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon,” he added.

France announced last week it would deliver weapons to Kurdish troops fighting IS fighters in northern Iraq.

“I ensured that these deliveries were done with the full agreement of the authorities in Baghdad, so there was no doubt about the use of this material,” Hollande said, adding that the weapons would have to be used “within the framework of Iraqi unity”.

He said the international community bore a “heavy responsibility” for what is happening in Syria, with its knock-on effects in Iraq.

“If, two years ago, we had acted to ensure a transition, we wouldn’t have had Islamic State.

“If, one year ago, the major powers had reacted to the use of chemical weapons, we wouldn’t have had this terrible choice between a dictator and a terrorist group,” adding that the rebels “deserve all our support”.

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Source: Middle East Online

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