France and Italy have called EU foreign ministers to hold an emergency meeting on Iraq. French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, appealed to the chief of European diplomacy, Catherine Ashton, in a letter that has been recently publicized. Mr Fabius said that he would have been very grateful if Mrs Ashton could speedily mobilize EU Member States and EU institutions to respond to the deteriorating situation in Iraq. He also pointed out that it seemed to him that a special meeting of the council of foreign ministers would have been desirable. The French minister himself has met with the Kurdish leader, Massud Barzani, in Iraq on Sunday (10 August), who asked Mr Fabius for “weapons and ammunition that would allow them to confront and beat the terrorist group of the Islamic State”. In the meantime, Italy’s foreign minister, Federica Mogherini – who is one of the candidates for Mrs Ashton’s position in November – had also appealed to her with a similar request.
Catherine Ashton said that an emergency meeting of foreign ministers should debate the current situation in Gaza, Libya, but also Iraq. Mr Mogherini added that the EU would not be speaking about a possibility of military intervention but about the provision of support – even of military type – to the Kurdish government in Iraq. Italian foreign minister thinks that the initiative must be European as other countries have already made their moves. The EU’s concern is mainly regarding the attacks of the Islamic State on Iraq’s Yazadi and Christian communities. The crisis has exacerbated since Monday (11 August) when the Iraqi President called for the formation of a new government to replace the incumbent Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, who is believed to have contributed to the crisis by impeding on the rights of Sunni Muslims, many of whom have in return sided with the Islamic State. The EU commented that this step was a positive move in the constitutional process towards the formation of the new cabinet. The EU said it encouraged the Iraqi leadership to deepen their efforts to create a new government that would be not only inclusive but would also protect national unity and sovereignty of the country.