EU ambassadors to meet Tuesday on Iraq crisis

AFP , Monday 11 Aug 2014

European Union envoys were to meet Tuesday for an emergency meeting over the deepening crisis in Iraq, an EU diplomatic source said.

The move comes after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius sent a letter to EU foreign affairs supremo Catherine Ashton urging the 28-member bloc to mobilise to help Iraq's Kurds fight the Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

The EU source said Monday that envoys from member states would meet in Brussels "to coordinate as well as possible" a response to the latest brutal advances by the militants which has forced an exodus of Christians and Yazidis.

However the source said the meeting, officially called by Italy which holds the rotating EU presidency, is not expected to yield any decision.

Fabius, who has just returned from a trip to Iraq where he met Kurdish president Masoud Barzani, said Barzani had stressed "the urgent need for weapons and ammunition that would allow them to confront and beat the terrorist group Islamic State".

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini also called for a crisis meeting to evaluate "with our principle European partners more efficient means" of stopping the jihadist advance.

"We're not talking about military intervention but providing support, even of a military sort, to the Kurdish government," she told Italian radio.

France and Britain have pledged support for a US-led operation to help Iraqi civilians -- many of them from the Yazidi minority -- who are fleeing the IS militants.

The United States has also been conducting air strikes on IS positions.

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