Middle East

British leader under pressure on Iraq

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a ceremony at the St. Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons August 4, 2014. (REUTERS/Chris Jackson)

LONDON: Pressure mounted Monday for British Prime Minister David Cameron to do more on Iraq, with some members of his own party urging him to recall Parliament from its summer break to consider action against Islamist militants.

British cargo planes carrying drinking water and tents have dropped some emergency supplies to the Yezidi community, a minority group besieged by Islamist militants in the Sinjar mountains in northern Iraq. But the efforts stalled because crew members were unable to find a place to drop supplies amid a crush of desperate people.

With media replete with stories of suffering and atrocities, Britain's government is being called to account. The Daily Mail newspaper featured a photograph of the prime minister walking barefoot down a beach under the headline: "Now UK must join bomb raids on fanatics, say MPs."

Lawmaker Conor Burns is leading the charge for a recall of Parliament, insisting that providing supplies is not enough to help "brother and sister Christians."

"These people are being beheaded ... and our only response is to drop some food or water on them," he said.

Other European leaders were also feeling the pressure. France, which made its first delivery of aid to Iraq Sunday, called for an urgent meeting of European Union foreign ministers to consider Kurdish requests for arms and an aid airlift to northern Iraq.

The ambassadors of the EU's 28-member nations plan an emergency meeting on the security situation in Iraq, Gaza and Ukraine Tuesday.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton could call a meeting of higher-level officials if a majority of the ambassadors request it. However, no such decision is expected, an EU official said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.





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