UN Security Council urges world to help Iraqi government

The UN Security Council on Thursday urged governments to help Iraq cope with a humanitarian crisis sparked by a jihadist offensive that has left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on the run.

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 08, 2014, 06:25 AM IST

New York: The UN Security Council on Thursday urged governments to help Iraq cope with a humanitarian crisis sparked by a jihadist offensive that has left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on the run.

The 15-nation Council met behind closed doors at UN headquarters in New York, as the United States was weighing action including possible airdrops to trapped civilians.

The Council called on "the international community to support the government and the people of Iraq and to do all it can to help alleviate the suffering of the population," said a unanimous statement from the 15 members.

Iraqi Ambassador Ali al-Hakim said the meeting focused on the need for urgent relief efforts to help civilians fleeing the violence, but denied reports that air strikes had been carried out against the jihadists.

"There is no strike being done yet," said Hakim.

"The first item is immediate humanitarian help for Iraq, inside of Iraq. That is immediately requested and it looks like it`s being done right now."

The Council condemned attacks by Islamic State fighters and expressed "deep outrage" over the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many from vulnerable minorities, who have been displaced, said the statement read by British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

The top world body said it welcomed Iraq`s efforts to address the humanitarian crisis and to combat "the terrorist threat" posed by the jihadists, and called for an "intensification of these efforts."

France, which had called for the urgent meeting, has offered to support forces combating IS fighters, with President Francois Hollande discussing the aid in talks with Kurdish leader Massud Barzani.

IS, which proclaimed a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq in late June, moved into Iraq`s main Christian town Qaraqosh overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish peshmerga troops.