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Iraq asks for New Zealand help in fight ISIS

13 February 2015, 10:08

Wellington - Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Ja'afari on Friday asked the New Zealand government to provide support for its armed forces as it battles ISIS.

Al-Ja'afari said at a press conference in Auckland that Iraq was seeking help from the international community in the areas of training, logistics support, aerial support, intelligence sharing and humanitarian assistance.

He said there was no limit to ISIS's "evil plans", and the threat posed by the militants required an international response.

"They target markets, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches in every country in the world," he said.

He said militants from more than 60 countries were fighting for ISIS.

"Those militants, once they return to their home countries, will be willing and capable of launching similar attacks, just as happened in France last month," he said, referring to the killing of 12 people in an attack at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Also read: Australian police thwart imminent ISIS-linked attack

New Zealand has been considering sending up to 100 soldiers to help train the Iraqi military and the government this week issued the go-ahead for the armed forces to start training for a possible deployment.

New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully said the government would make a final decision in the next two or three weeks on whether to send troops to Iraq.

McCully said further discussions, particularly on "status of forces" issues were needed before New Zealand made a final decision. The discussions are expected to deal with the rules of engagement for the combat troops providing protection for those engaged in training.

Dr al-Ja'afari was on a one-day visit to Auckland to meet with McCully, Prime Minister John Key and defence minister Gerry Brownlee.



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