World Leaders Vow To Help Fight IS

lraqiThirty countries have pledged to help Iraq fight Islamic State (IS) militants “by all means necessary”.

A joint statement by foreign ministers taking part in a major conference in Paris talks said support would include “appropriate military assistance”.

The talks had been called to agree a strategy to combat the group, which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria. The conference followed a whirlwind tour of the Middle East by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Mr Kerry, who attended the summit, has been drumming up support for a plan of action unveiled by President Barack Obama last week.

The murder of British aid worker David Haines by IS militants, shown in a video released by the group on Saturday, has added momentum to the plans, says the BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Paris.

Opening the summit, French President Francois Hollande said the threat posed by IS militants needed a global response.

The CIA estimates that Islamic State – formerly known as ISIS – has between 20,000 and 31,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi President Fuad Masum, who co-hosted the conference with Mr Hollande, said the international community must pursue the jihadists “quickly”.

“If this intervention and support to Iraq is late, that means that Islamic State could occupy more territory and the threat it poses will be even bigger,” he said.

The summit closed a few hours later with a joint statement saying the participants were “committed to supporting the new Iraqi government in its fight… by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance”.

Earlier, France said it had begun surveillance flights over Iraq. Britain revealed in August that its aircraft had been gathering intelligence over Iraq.

Several Arab countries have offered to take part in air strikes on IS fighters in Iraq, US officials say.

BBC

 

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