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French FM asks EU to provide humanitarian assistance to Iraq

August 11, 2014, 19:42 UTC+3 PARIS

Fabius said he saw the “absolutely dramatic” situation in northern Iraq during his trip to Erbil

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PARIS, August 11. /ITAR-TASS/. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has urged the European Union to urgently respond to the threats to civilians in northern Iraq and commit its resources to organising humanitarian assistance to the country.

The minister made this call in letters to Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and European Commissioner for International Cooperation Kristalina Georgieva.

Fabius said he could see the “absolutely dramatic” situation in northern Iraq during his trip to Erbil on Sunday, August 10.

As the “Islamic State” is advancing, the endangered civil population has to flee the region and the local authorities are facing a dramatic humanitarian situation the scale of which exceeds their capability to respond, the minister said.

“The situation in northern Iraq is deteriorating on a daily basis. The Islamic State is continuing its advances and stepping up its brutalities against the Iraqi population as a whole and against vulnerable minorities such as Iraq’s Christians and Yezidis,” the minister wrote.

He believes that “Europe cannot remain passive” in this situation. “This situation is intolerable, and the international community cannot remain passive given the suffering of an entire people and the threats represented by Islamic State to the people and stability not just of Iraq but of the entire region,” the minister wrote.

The head of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, asked Fabius to urgently create an air corridor between Europe and northern Iraq for the delivery of relief supplies to the region. Barzani also insisted on the supply of weapons and ammunition in order to resist the Islamic State militants.

Fabius said the European Union should mobilise itself urgently and “to contribute to providing all possible means of assistance-notably of a humanitarian nature-in response to this catastrophic situation”.

He asked Ashton to urgently rally Europe’s member states and institutions around this goal.

The minister also made a separate statement for the press in which he called for creating a national consensus government in Iraq and supported Iraqi President Fuad Masum’s efforts to this end. Fabius urged all political leaders in Iraq to begin a dialogue and find a political solution acceptable to all parts of the country.

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