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Letter from Laurent Fabius

Letter from Laurent Fabius to Catherine Ashton and Kristalina Georgieva

11 August 2014

I have just returned from Erbil, where I was able to confirm first-hand the utterly dire nature of the situation in northern Iraq. Confronted with Islamic State advances, threatened civilian populations—each day ever more numerous—must flee, and the local authorities are facing a tragic humanitarian situation whose dimensions exceed their ability to respond.

With this drama playing out on its doorstep, Europe must not remain inactive. Solidarity with the persecuted community is a moral imperative. Europe’s strategic interests and the defense of liberties also demand it.

Massoud Barzani, President of the Regional Government of Kurdistan, asked me to establish, on an extremely urgent basis, an air bridge to supply humanitarian relief from Europe to northern Iraq, as well as temporary construction materials to help local authorities meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons fleeing the barbarity of Islamic State.

He also stressed the pressing need for weapons and ammunition that would allow him to confront and fight the Islamic State terrorist group.
It is vital for the European Union to mobilize immediately to answer this call for help. I would therefore be very grateful to you for urgently rallying Europe’s member states and institutions. A special meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council seems advisable.

France—whose first shipment of humanitarian aid I supervised yesterday—stands ready to respond.


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