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Obama meets national security team on Iraq

LiveMint logoLiveMint 13-06-2014 Lalit K Jha

Washington: US President Barack Obama has on Friday discussed with his national security team the current situation in Iraq, where Islamic militants have gained control of the country’s second largest city Mosul.

“The President met today with his national security team to discuss the situation in Iraq,” spokesperson of the National Security Council Caitlin Hayden said. The meeting came soon after Obama told reporters that he is considering all options in Iraq as it has a stake in making sure that jihadists do not get a permanent foothold in that country and in Syria.

“It’s going to need help from us and it’s going to need more help from the international community,” Obama told reporters during a joint media appearance with the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. “So my team is working around the clock to identify how we can provide the most effective assistance to them. I don’t rule out anything, because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria, for that matter,” Obama said. Soon, thereafter, White House press secretary Jay Carney clarified that the assistance does not include troops on the ground. “We are not contemplating ground troops. I want to be clear about that. The president was answering a question specifically about airstrikes, and he made clear that we are considering our options as part of the overall effort to support Iraq, and as part of the overall assistance that we provide and can provide Iraq in this fight,” Carney told reporters in response to a question.

Earlier, US vice president Joe Biden spoke with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to express solidarity with Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the White House said. “The Prime Minister discussed Iraq’s current security situation, and the Vice President made clear that the US is prepared to continue to intensify and accelerate security support and cooperation with Iraq, under the Strategic Framework Agreement, to confront the urgent and growing threat posed by ISIL,” the White House said. Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have made a huge push and swept a large part of predominantly Sunni Arab territory in northern and north-central Iraq. Meanwhile, forces from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region have taken control of Kirkuk. PTI

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