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Politics & press news – Embassy 53

Work together to stop ISIL, says Iraqi Ambassador

The Islamic State/ISIS is a “dangerous force” for the entire Middle East, Iraq’s Ambassador to London has warned, saying that the region should “unite against terrorism”.

Speaking to Embassy, Ambassador Faik Nerweyi said Iraq’s neighbours should employ “tighter security measures, stop material supplies to the insurgents and encourage Islamic leaders to condemn ISIS”.

Efforts may include working with both Syria’s President Assad and the Syrian opposition: “We should protect our interests whatever the method or price should be,” he said.

The Ambassador, a Kurd who has personal experience working in humanitarian operations to protect Kurds fleeing from attacks by the Saddam Hussein regime, praised the US and UK for delivering humanitarian aid and providing air cover. He said these actions had helped the local Peshmerga forces to drive ISIS out of their territory, thereby averting potential genocide in Northern Iraq.

He welcomed the UK-sponsored UN resolution, in which those recruiting, financing, supplying weapons, or fighting for ISIS and linked groups would face sanctions.

“We won’t see results overnight, but cutting off supplies to ISIS will make them vulnerable,” said Nerweyi.

Calling for a “sustained and strengthened” response from the international community, he said a broad coalition was required to drive ISIS out of Iraqi territory and then to seal the borders. He added that he expected that a coordinated response to the threat of ISIS to be discussed at the NATO summit in September.

Echoing the Ambassador’s views in an Embassy survey, diplomats said limited air strikes on ISIS would “not be sufficient”.

They said in addition to countries such as the US and UK, regional powers, such as Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar “could do much more to exert pressure” on ISIS.

Envoys added that the new government under Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi had a responsibility to curb sectarianism in Iraq.

With disaffected Sunni tribes aiding ISIS, a “more inclusive government and more regional autonomy in Iraq” was an important part of the solution, said one EU Ambassador.

Ambassador Nerweyi agreed: “Iraq needs reform and we are hoping all people of Iraq will stand together against ISIS and we hope this will be a new face for the future of the country.”

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