BEIRUT

Middle East

France pushes urgent EU meeting on arms to Iraq

Iraq's newly-elected president Fouad Massoum, right, meets with French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, left, in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Thaier al-Sudani, Pool)

PARIS: France's foreign minister Tuesday said his European colleagues should be recalled from their holidays for an urgent meeting about delivering arms to Kurds fighting Islamic extremists in Iraq.

"I have asked [EU foreign affairs head Catherine] Ashton to bring together the [EU] foreign affairs council as quickly as possible so we can take decisions on this matter," Laurent Fabius told French radio.

"There is still no date and I ask again that this be done urgently," he added.

"I know that in the West, we are in the holiday period but when there are people dying ... you have to come back from your holidays," he stressed.

Fabius Monday wrote to Ashton, calling on the European Union to "mobilize" to respond to appeals from Iraq's Kurds for arms to fight Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria jihadists.

European Union envoys were expected to meet Tuesday for an emergency meeting over the deepening crisis in Iraq.

Fabius also announced that France would send a further 20 tonnes of humanitarian aid, including medicine and equipment to make water drinkable.

This follows 18 tonnes of aid delivered over the weekend and further drops would follow, pledged the minister.

He also reiterated France's support for prime minister-designate Haidar Al-Abadi and urged him to quickly form a government of national unity.

 

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