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France offers surveillance help for Iraq war on ISIS

By AFP

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Iraqi Defense Minister Jumaa Inad welcomes his French counterpart Florence Parly in Baghdad at the start of her official visit to Iraq on August 27th. [Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP]

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly held talks in Baghdad on Thursday (August 27th), pledging continued support for Iraq's fight against "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) remnants.

Parly is the second French minister to visit the Iraqi capital this summer after Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian last month.

She held talks with her counterpart Jumaa Inad and President Barham Saleh, and is due to meet Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhemi before travelling to the Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

During a brief press conference with Inad, she said France was hoping to resume its training and arming of Iraqi security forces "as soon as possible".

Support was suspended earlier this year in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parly said she and Inad also discussed boosting Iraq's surveillance methods, "by land and in its airspace", to squeeze ISIS sleeper cells still operating in desert areas.

"We are convinced that the fight against [ISIS] is not over," she said. "We are by your side."

Ahead of her trip, the French defence ministry said it wanted to make sure operations against ISIS in Iraq would not be derailed by heightened tensions between the US and Iran.

When Le Drian visited in July, he insisted Baghdad "should dissociate itself from regional tensions" and stay focused on the fight against extremists.

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