Germany and Italy agree to send weapons and military equipment to Iraqi Kurdish Security Forces 2108
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Defence & Security News - Germany / Italy
|Thursday, August 21, 2014 08:06 AM|
|Germany and Italy agree to send weapons and military equipment to Iraqi Kurdish Security Forces.|
Germany and Italy joined Britain and France on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, in saying they would arm Iraqi Kurdish security forces fighting Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, in close coordination with the Baghdad central government.
Members of the Kurdish security forces take part in an intensive security deployment on the outskirts of Kirkuk.
Besides humanitarian aid and military equipment such as body armour and helmets, "we can also imagine providing further equipment, including weapons," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
Germany - the world's third largest arms exporter after the United States and Russia - had previously promised to cut back on arms deliveries to non-allied states particularly to the Gulf. Deliveries to direct conflict zones was always ruled out.
Steinmeier, who visited Iraq last Saturday, had made clear he believes Germany has a moral obligation to provide military support against Islamic State. According to a poll by Forsa published on Wednesday however, 63 percent of Germans are against supplying weapons to the Kurds.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi paid a one-day visit to Iraq on Wednesday and his government said it was ready to consider requests for supplies of personal weapons and ammunition for self-defence.
Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said Italy had earmarked light automatic weapons and ammunition used by the Italian armed forces, as well as arms made in the former Soviet Union and seized at sea during the 1990s Balkan wars, to be sent to Iraq.German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Berlin would examine over the next week what equipment was available to send and what the Kurdish security forces needed.
Germany does not have Soviet-manufactured weapons, but would look into training Kurdish security forces in further equipment, a defence ministry spokesman said.
Pinotti said Italy was prepared to join other countries in providing transport for weapons supplies and said technical preparations were already under way. The plan could be put into action within days providing it had the support of the Italian parliament and received approval from the Iraqi government and clearance to fly over third countries, she said.