EU says member states may arm Iraqi Kurds

EU foreign ministers holding an emergency meeting in Brussels did not reach a united position to all send arms to the Iraqi Kurds

EU says member states may arm Iraqi Kurds

World Bulletin/News Desk

The European Union said on Friday that individual EU governments were free to send weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling militants provided they had the consent of Iraqi national authorities.

EU foreign ministers holding an emergency meeting in Brussels did not reach a united position to all send arms to the Iraqi Kurds but welcomed the decision by some EU governments, such as France, to do so.

The EU said it would also look at how to prevent ISIL militants, who have overrun some oilfields in Syria and Iraq, benefiting from oil sales. The bloc also called for a swift investigation of human rights abuses in Syria and Iraq, saying some may be crimes against humanity.

The United States has asked European countries to supply arms and ammunition to Kurdish forces, U.S. and European officials have said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Friday the European Union welcomed the fact that individual countries had responded to requests for arms from the security forces in Iraq's Kurdish region.

Asked about Germany's position, he said after meeting his foreign minister counterparts that Germany would go to the limits of what is "legally and politically possible", and that would be clearer after his trip to Iraq this weekend.

On the other hand, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said on Friday his country would not deliver arms to Kurds, saying it would focus on humanitarian aid instead.

"We're not prepared to take part in deliveries of weapons - that's not an issue for us. As you know we're not a big weapons exporter, we're not a big military power," he said in Brussels.

"We can help in other ways such as providing humanitarian aid and we're doing that."

Britain already said would consider "positively" any request for arms from the Kurds.

Premier David Cameron has so far said Britain's response would be limited to a humanitarian effort, but London has also been transporting to Kurdish forces military supplies, such as ammunition, being provided by other nations.

"If we were to receive a request then we would consider it positively," the spokeswoman said on Friday.

"Our understanding is that they prefer to operate kit that they are trained on, and so that's why so far it has been us transporting supplies from other countries."

Several European governments, including France, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, have said they will send arms to the Kurds or are considering doing so.

Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2014, 17:49
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