Italy seeks EU foreign ministers' meeting on Iraq, Libya

by Reuters
Monday, 11 August 2014 15:42 GMT

(Corrects third paragraph to show Fabius foreign, not finance, minister)

ROME, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Italy's foreign minister said she had asked the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, for an extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss support for Iraqi Kurds and the fighting in Libya and Gaza.

Italy holds the rotating presidency of the EU, and Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini is Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's candidate to take the Ashton job. She made her comments in an interview with RAI state radio on Monday.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who visited Iraq on Sunday and met Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani, also wrote to Ashton urging an urgent EU meeting, in response to Kurdish appeals for humanitarian aid and arms, his ministry said in a statement.

During the same interview, Mogherini said Italy would support Iraqi Kurds fighting Islamists.

"I'm not talking about a military intervention, but an act of support for the military of the independent government of Iraqi Kurdistan," she said, calling stopping the advance of Islamic State militants an "absolute necessity".

The United States has carried out three days of air strikes against Islamic State militants, who have seized a swath of northern Iraq. International pressure is mounting on other countries to help out.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer,; Editing by Larry King)

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