BEIRUT

Middle East

France to deliver first aid equipment to Iraq 'in coming hours'

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters look on as smoke billows from the town Makhmur, about 280 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, during clashes with Islamic State militants on August 9, 2014. (AFP/Safin Hamed)

PARIS: France will begin delivery of first aid equipment to Iraq "in the coming hours," the president's office said Saturday.

President Francois Hollande assured the leader of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, by phone that the aid was on its way, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace.

Hollande "reaffirmed the will of France to stand by the side of civilian victims of continued attacks" by the Islamic State jihadist group, the Elysee said.

He also "underlined his determination to mobilise the international community and said he had asked the European Union to take necessary measures with great urgency to respond to immediate humanitarian needs."

The U.N. Security Council called Thursday on the international community to support the Iraqi government as it tries to counter the sweeping gains made by the Islamic State in the north of the country.

Hollande echoed statements from U.S. President Barack Obama that the crisis required political solutions, saying there was an urgent need for "a government of national unity" to be established in Iraq.

 

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