France calls for urgent and political response to Iraq crisis

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France has called for an urgent but also political response from Iraq to the offensive by jihadist ISIL forces, and said it was "ready" to contribute to reinforcing the democratic opposition in Syria.

The Iraq crisis, where ISIL forces have seized control of large swathes of the country north of Baghdad, is "a dramatic consequence of the situation in Syria", said the French presidency in a statement.

"The offensive carried out by the terrorist group known by the name Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) compromises the unity of Iraq and creates new threats for the stability and the security of the whole region," the statement said.

The presidency issued the statement yesterday after a special meeting of France's defence council including President Francois Hollande, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

"A resolute response by the Iraqi authorities is urgent and necessary, but only provides part of the solution. It should be political in order to be sustainable and to receive the support of the United Nations Security Council."

France hopes "all sections of Iraqi society will engage in dialogue in order to rapidly put in place a government of national unity," the statement said, alluding to the long-running tensions between the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Sunni community, which is seen as having contributed to the current crisis.

The Elysee went on to accuse Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using terrorist groups in his country "against the Syrian opposition", and called for all "friends of the Syrian people" to "reinforce and coordinate their support for the forces of opposition that are today fighting the jihadist groups", adding that France was "ready to contribute".


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