MERKEL : PRO KURDS & PRO IRAQ / MUNICH SECURITY CONFERENCE – Germany pledges economic help for Iraq alongside military aid

By RUDAW – 6 Feb 2014 – BERLIN, Germany – German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged greater support for Iraq and Turkey in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS), as the Iraqi prime minister announced that the liberation of his country’s second-largest city would come “soon.”

“We have decided to support a comprehensive governmental structure in Iraq,” Merkel said at a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in Berlin on Friday. “Beside military assistance, we will help Iraq economically,” she said, also pledging closer ties with Ankara. “In order to defeat ISIS, we have to deepen our relationships with Turkey,” she said. Abadi told reporters, “ We have a strong bilateral relationship with Germany, and Germany helps us in terms of security.” He added that, “Germany has supplied the Peshmerga with advanced weapons, and we still need advanced weapons from Germany.”

Abadi said that his government did not want to rush to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city which has been under ISIS control since June.“We do not want to go into a war in Mosul in which the aftermaths are invisible,” he said. “But I can pledge to the people of Mosul that we are going to liberate the city soon,” he added. Liberating the city – ISIS’ stronghold in Iraq – is expected to involve Iraqi soldiers, Peshmerga forces and at least some combat troops from the US-led coalition arrayed against the Sunni extremists, who hold sway in a third of Iraq and about as much of Syria. Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said late last month that the fight for Mosul is unlikely to happen before next fall.Merkel also added that she would be meeting soon with Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani, who is in Germany to attend the annual Munich Security Conference.