French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday he would arrange a conference next month on the threat posed by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq, describing the current international situation as the most serious since 2001.
“I believe the international situation is the worst we’ve seen since 2001,” Hollande said during an interview with the french daily newspapre Le Monde.
“We can no longer keep to the traditional debate of intervention or non-intervention,” he told the French daily.
“We have to come up with a global strategy to fight this group, which is structured, has significant financing, very sophisticated weapons and threatens countries like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon,” he said.
During the interview, Hollande did not say when the meeting could be held or who would be invited.
He also said that the international community bore a “heavy responsibility” for what is happening in Syria, with its knock-on effects in Iraq.
“If, two years ago, we had acted to ensure a transition, we wouldn’t have had ISIS,” he said.
“If, one year ago, the major powers had reacted to the use of chemical weapons, we wouldn’t have had this terrible choice between a dictator and a terrorist group,” adding that the rebels “deserve all our support,” he added.
Hollande announced last week that France would deliver weapons to Kurdish troops fighting ISIS fighters in northern Iraq.
“I ensured that these deliveries were done with the full agreement of the authorities in Baghdad, so there was no doubt about the use of this material,” Hollande said, adding that the weapons would have to be used “within the framework of Iraqi unity”.
ISIS insurgents, who have seized control of territory in both Iraq and Syria, captured wide swathes of northern Iraq since June.
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