FRENCH FOREIGN, DEFENCE MINISTERS IN BAGHDAD TO SUPPORT IRAQ IN WAR AGAINST DAESH

The French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defence Minister, Florence Parly, on Saturday, arrived in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, to hold talks with Iraqi leaders and show support in fighting against the Daesh militant group.

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

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

"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. It also supports Iraq within the framework of bilateral cooperation between the two countries," said Parly.

For his part, Jaafari said, Iraq and France are both victims of terrorism, which killed dozens of people in the two countries.

However, Jaafari warned that the victory over the militants in Iraq "does not, in any way, mean the end of the threat of this terrorist organisation."

Jaafari also revealed that he received information from security sources that said, the Iraqi forces had seized 70 percent of the city of Tal Afar, some 70 km west of Mosul.

However, following his announcement, Iraqi military statements said, the security forces have recaptured five more neighbourhoods in Tal Afar, including al-Qal'a and its old Tal Afar Citadel, which is a ruined Ottoman fortress, located in the centre of the city.

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

Their visit to Arbil came, amid debate over the Kurdish independence referendum, slated for Sept 25.

France has around 500 troops fighting alongside forces of a U.S.-led coalition, the second largest contributor to the international coalition, that has carried out thousands of air strikes against the Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and provided military equipment and training to Iraqi forces

Source: NAM News Network