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French Foreign, Defence ministers visit Iraq

Baghdad, Aug 26 (IANS) French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defence Minister Florence Parly on Saturday arrived in the Iraqi capital to hold talks with Iraqi leaders and show support in fighting against the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

“Iraq is moving from war to peace, although Daesh (IS group) is not finished yet. But, Iraq is going into the stage of reconciliation, reconstruction and stability… and needs support from France.. that explains why we are here today,” Le Drian said at a joint press conference with Parly and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Le Drian said that he and Parly will meet Iraqi President Fuad Masoum and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to “say France will always be with Iraq and we will talk about means to achieve this”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“France is strongly committed to supporting Iraq within the framework of the international coalition against Daesh by providing air and logistical support to the Iraqi forces,” said Parly.

For his part, Jaafari called Iraq and France victims of terrorism, which killed dozens of people in the two countries. He also said that the Iraqi forces had seized 70 per cent of the city of Tal Afar from the Islamic State.

Following his announcement, Iraqi military said that the security forces recaptured five more neighbourhoods in Tal Afar, including Al Qal’a neighbourhood and its old Tal Afar Citadel, which is a ruined Ottoman fortress, located in the centre of the city.

The French ministers were also expected to travel to Arbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, to meet with regional President Masoud Barzani.

Their visit to Arbil comes amid a debate in the country over the Kurdish independence referendum slated for September 25.

Post Source: Ians feed

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