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Wed 27 May 2015 12:10 PM

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Coalition fighting ISIL must be reinforced - France

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says Iraq and Syria risk further division if international efforts to tackle militants there are not stepped up quickly

Coalition fighting ISIL must be reinforced - France

Iraq and Syria
risk further division if international efforts to tackle ISIL militants there
are not stepped up quickly, France warned on Tuesday.

Foreign
Minister Laurent Fabius, speaking ahead of a June 2 meeting in Paris of nations
fighting ISIL, also said Iraq's government had not honoured commitments to its
partners to represent the interests of all sectors of its society.

He further said
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad had lost control of his country and that a
political solution between elements of his government and the opposition needed
to be found quickly to "save Syria."

"In Iraq,
like Syria, international mobilisation must be strengthened very quickly or
else we are heading towards the division of one or the other country, if not
both, with new massacres and disastrous consequences," Fabius told
lawmakers without elaborating on what reinforcements he wanted.

The Iraqi
government is scrambling to reverse its biggest military setback in nearly a
year - the fall of Ramadi, capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad. Prime
Minister Haidar Abadi, due in Paris next week, has vowed to recapture it within
days.

Ramadi's fall a
week ago was followed by the fall of the city of Palmyra in Syria, the two
biggest gains by ISIL fighters since a United States-led coalition began
targeting them with air strikes in both Iraq and Syria last year.

"It
confirms what we have said all along. There is no military solution without a
political solution. In September, we linked the coalition's support to
political commitments by the new Iraqi government, what we call an inclusive
policy.

"This
contract is what justified our military engagement and I say clearly here that
it must be better respected," Fabius told lawmakers."

As the
jihadists shore up their positions, Abadi, a moderate Shi'ite leader, faces an
important test over whether he can draw Sunni Arabs away from ISIL, a challenge
he has struggled to meet despite vows of a more inclusive governance.

He must also
show the ability to control powerful Shi'ite militias tainted by earlier abuses
that have stoked Sunni anger toward his government.

The meeting in
Paris, where more than 20 foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State
John Kerry are due to attend, aims to plot strategy including how to reverse
recent losses.

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