Sunday

30th Apr 2017

France and Italy call for snap EU meeting on Iraq

  • EU countries 'welcomed' Maliki's departure (Photo: Valentina Pop)

France and Italy have urged the EU foreign service to call an emergency meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Iraq.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius made the appeal to EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton in a letter made public by AFP on Monday (11 August).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"I would be very grateful if you could urgently mobilise the member states and the European institutions to respond … It seems to me that a special meeting of the council of foreign ministers would be desirable”, he said.

Fabius, who met with the leader of Iraq’s Kurdish enclave, Massud Barzani, in Iraq on Sunday, noted that Barzani had appealed to him for “weapons and ammunition that would allow them to confront and beat the terrorist group [the] Islamic State”.

Meanwhile, Italy’s foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, who hopes to take over Ashton’s post in November, told Italian radio on Monday that she had also written to the EU foreign affairs chief with a similar request over the weekend.

She said the special foreign ministers’ meeting should discuss the situation in Gaza and Libya as well as Iraq.

"We're not talking about military intervention but providing support, even of a military sort, to the Kurdish government [in Iraq] … Several countries are making a move, but the initiative must be European,” Mogherini said.

The EU concern comes amid the Islamic State’s (IS) assaults on Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi minorities in recent days.

The US launched air strikes against IS fighters last week, while Ashton in a statement on Sunday said: "We are appalled by the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation with hundreds of thousands civilians, mainly from minorities, fleeing the areas of conflict as a result of persecution and violation of basic human rights”.

She added: “Some of these acts may constitute crimes against humanity and must be investigated swiftly”.

The crisis in Iraq also deepened on Monday when the country’s president asked parliament speaker Haider al-Abadi to form a new government to replace the existing PM, Nouri Maliki.

Maliki, a Shia Muslim, is blamed for exasperating the situation by trampling on the rights of Iraq’s Sunni Muslims, some of whom have sided with the IS's Sunni fighters.

His party won the most seats in Iraq’s elections in April and reports indicate that pro-Maliki militias in Baghdad are preparing to back his rule with force if need be.

But EU countries in a communique on Monday said they “welcome” the Abadi move.

“This decision is a positive step in the constitutional process towards the formation of a new government. We encourage the designated prime minister and all Iraqi political leaders to intensify their efforts to achieve the speedy formation of a new government that is inclusive, preserves national unity and is able to address the present crisis”, they said.

EU counts humanitarian cost of Iraq crisis

Up to half a million people have fled the new front line between rebels and government forces in Iraq, but EU sources say there is little extra aid in the pot.

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU

Beijing special envoy on the Syrian conflict said in Brussels that "imposing" a solution from the outside would "not be workable" and that the peace process will not be "smooth sailing".

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. EU boasts unity on Brexit talks
  2. May’s election juggernaut
  3. EPP scolds Orban over university and NGO laws
  4. Oxford-Studie besorgt über 'Schrott' News in Frankreich
  5. Alte Freundschaft zwischen Le Pen und Putin
  6. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  7. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  8. One year later: EU right to open internet still virtual