Britain to balance anti-IS support to Iraqi, Kurdish forces

 Britain`s support to Iraqi security forces and regional Kurdish forces in their fight against the Islamic State (IS) will be balanced, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said here Monday.

IANS| Updated: Oct 14, 2014, 08:24 AM IST
Britain to balance anti-IS support to Iraqi, Kurdish forces

Baghdad: Britain`s support to Iraqi security forces and regional Kurdish forces in their fight against the Islamic State (IS) will be balanced, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said here Monday.

"We have said to the Iraqi government that we ensure that the support we provide would be balanced between the Kurdish security forces and the Iraqi security forces," Xinhua quoted Hammond as saying at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafariin in Baghdad.

Hammond also said that his country`s support would be effective, but would not replace the role of the Iraqi security forces.

"We always understood that the air campaign alone was not going to be decisive in turning the tide against the IS ... the heavy work on the ground is going to have to be done by Iraqi forces and is going to have to be done by Sunni community in the areas that the IS occupied," Hammond told reporters.

He added that the anti-IS coalition needs to retrain and reorganise Iraq security forces, "providing technical and other support to the government as it delivers its programme for national reconciliation".

The Iraqi government needs to quell the uprising of the Sunni community against the Shiite-led government of former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, which is threatening to split the country apart, the chief British diplomat said.

Hammond, who arrived in Baghdad earlier Monday, was expected to discuss combating the IS and improving national unity with Prime Minister Hader al-Abadi.