Germany is prepared to arm Kurdish fighters battling Sunni insurgents in northern Iraq, officials said Wednesday, Aug 20, according to the Associated Press.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier cited the “barbaric” actions of the Islamic State group that has taken control of large parts of Iraq in recent weeks, and the threat that their further advance could pose to the region and Europe.
“We are prepared, in principle, to provide weapons and ammunition within our means,” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said at a joint news conference with Steinmeier in Berlin.
The two ministers said Germany would closely coordinate its efforts with France, Britain, Italy and other European countries that have expressed willingness to deliver weapons to the Kurds.
France began shipping arms to Kurdish forces last week and has also supplied similar weapons to Western-backed Syrian opposition forces. The French government announced Wednesday it was getting a new shipment of humanitarian aid ready for Iraq as minorities under attack by Sunni militants issued a new appeal for help.
While Italian Premier Matteo Renzi visited Iraq on Wednesday, his defense minister told lawmakers the country hoped to contribute machine guns formerly used by Italy’s military, as well as ammunition and anti-tank rockets.