Ger­man FM prom­ises Kurds more mil­i­tary sup­port to fight ‘ IS’

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Ger­many's for­eign min­is­ter has pledged fur­ther mil­i­tary sup­port to the Kur­dish Pesh­merga forces in north­ern Iraq in their fight against IS mil­i­tants. He has also called for more po­lit­i­cal unity within Iraq.

Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier pledged fur­ther Ger­man mil­i­tary sup­port to the Kurds in north­ern Iraq on Tues­day. The pledge of sup­port, which came on day two of the for­eign min­is­ter's visit to Iraq, seeks to help Kur­dish forces in their fight against "Is­lamic State" (IS) mil­i­tants.

"We have de­cided to con­tinue our co­op­er­a­tion with you and the Pesh­merga," Stein­meier said dur­ing a meet­ing in Er­bil with Mas­soud Barzani. He stressed that the fight against IS must be in­te­grated into a "larger over­all po­lit­i­cal strat­egy."

Al­though Stein­meier did not give ex­act de­tails con­cern­ing the scope of fu­ture mil­i­tary sup­port in Iraq, it is be­lieved that the num­ber of Bun­deswehr train­ers will in­crease from 100 to 150. Kur­dish forces hope to re­ceive more anti-tank mis­sile launch­ers along with G3 and G36 as­sault ri­fles.

The for­eign min­is­ter also praised the Kurds for their con­tri­bu­tions in re­tak­ing key Iraqi cit- ies such as Sin­jar and Tikrit. Barzani as­sured Stein­meier that Ger­man ef­forts to arm Pesh­merga forces helped "to turn around the mil­i­tary sit­u­a­tion in the re­gion."

Last year, Ger­many de­cided to break from re­cent pol­icy by send­ing weapons to the con­flic­trid­den area due to IS ad­vances in Iraq. Stein­meier said he is "ret­ro­spec­tively glad" about the de­ci­sion and that "it was nec­es­sary to stop IS."

Stein­meier also em­pha­sized that the of­fer of sup­port must still be ap­proved by the Iraqi cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Bag­dad.

"We see no point in making the re­la­tion­ships here in Iraq more com­pli­cated than they al­ready are by ag­gra­vat­ing Bag­dad," he said. So far Ger­many has not sup­plied weapons to the Iraqi army, which is viewed by some as par­tially cor­rupt and in­ef­fi­cient. Stein­meier urged that the Kurds and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Iraq need to unify, es­pe­cially if IS is to be stopped. The terror group has over­run swathes of ter­ri­tory in the coun­try and has sup­port from Iraqi Sun­nis who live in the north­west.

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