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In Iraq, Hollande Talks Islamic State

  • Reuters

French President Francois Hollande shakes hands with Iraqi President Fuad Masum, right, during a news conference in Baghdad, Sept. 12, 2014.

French President Francois Hollande shakes hands with Iraqi President Fuad Masum, right, during a news conference in Baghdad, Sept. 12, 2014.

French President Francois Hollande said in Baghdad on Friday he would discuss humanitarian aid and military support for Iraq's fight against Islamic State insurgents, ahead of a Paris meeting on Monday of opponents of the militant group.

France has said it would take part in military action against Islamic State fighters in Iraq as part of a coalition being formed by Washington.

As part of efforts to broaden support, Hollande hosts talks in Paris on Monday where regional and international powers will seek to coordinate support for Iraqi unity in a battle against Islamic State militants who seized northern parts of the country.

"The goal is to coordinate aid, support and action for the unity of Iraq and against this terrorist group," Hollande told journalists at the start of a one-day visit to Iraq during which he met President Fuad Masum and other prominent figures.

Hollande was due to visit Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, later on Friday to deliver humanitarian aid, primarily tents and sanitary equipment.

After President Barack Obama unveiled plans this week for an expanded campaign against Islamic State militants, France wants to show that support for Iraq is not limited to military action, one of Hollande's aides said.

At the Paris conference, the French government aims to tackle the Islamic State's financing and recruiting as well as improving border controls and training of the Iraqi army.

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