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Germany extends its military mission in Iraq: foreign minister

A German military expert (L) speaks with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters during training at a shooting range in Erbil, Iraq on October 2, 2014. (Photo Credit:AFP)
2020-10-30

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SULAIMANI — German Foreign Affairs Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday (October 30) his country’s Federal Parliament (Bundestag) had extended the German military mission within the US-led Coalition alliance.

In a readout issued by the German foreign ministry, Maas was quoted as saying, “The so-called Islamic State terrorist organization remains dangerous. IS is still actively organizing underground in Iraq and Syria, and is still carrying out attacks.”

The foreign minister attributed the militant group’s recent resurgence to coronavirus pandemic and a slump in counter-terror activities as a result.

“In order to guarantee security in the region and here in Europe, we must do everything we possibly can to prevent a resurgence of IS,” he continued. “We will continue to stand resolutely by [Iraq’s] side in the fight against IS and to support the implementation of the ambitious Iraqi reform agenda.”

In a tweet following the decision to extend the German mandate, the Kurdistan Region’s President Nechirvan Barzani commended the Bundestag’s decision.

“I thank Germany for extending its forces’ mandate as part of the global coalition against ISIS in Iraq,” Barzani said in a tweet. “We appreciate Germany’s continued assistance to the Kurdistan Region. Iraq and the region still need the support of the global coalition to defeat ISIS.”

 

German military support for Iraq extends beyond military coordination, Maas said, adding that Berlin has provided support in mine clearance, prosecution of ISIS militants, and deradicalization programs.

“We can only dry up support for IS in the long term if the people of Iraq see a tangible improvement in their living conditions. This requires firstly getting humanitarian supplies to the people on the ground,” he said.

Germany is the second-largest donor in Iraq since the onset of fight against ISIS militants 2.2. Billion euros provided in humanitarian assistance, stabilization measures and development cooperation, according to the statement.

Iraq declared victory over ISIS in December 2017, but the militant group routinely launches attacks, especially in the disputed areas in Saladin, Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala governorates.

(NRT Digital Media)