BEIRUT

Middle East

EU planning foreign ministers meeting on Iraq

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton Catherine Ashton (L) speaks with Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R-back to camera) during their meeting in Hanoi August 12, 2014. (AFP Photo/Hoang Dinh Nam)

BRUSSELS: The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is ready to hold a meeting of foreign ministers on the crisis in Iraq, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"Ashton is ready to convene a Foreign Affairs Council as early as this week and is checking with member states if it is possible," the spokesman said, following a meeting of EU ambassadors Tuesday.

France and Italy have for days been calling for such a meeting to respond to Iraqi Kurd appeals for weapons in the face of a jihadist onslaught in northern Iraq.

The EU envoys met in Brussels Tuesday in an effort to better coordinate the response by member states to a crisis the EU's executive called the world's most pressing emergency.

They unanimously agreed on the need for urgent and increased humanitarian support but did not call for a meeting of foreign ministers, which is needed for any major coordinated action by bloc countries.

 

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