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Published on August 11, 2014
Letter from M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to Ms Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, and Ms Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response

Paris, August 11, 2014

I have just returned from Erbil, where I was able to confirm first-hand the utterly dire nature of the situation in northern Iraq. Confronted with Islamic State advances, threatened civilian populations – each day ever more numerous – must flee, and the local authorities are facing a tragic humanitarian situation whose dimensions exceed their ability to respond.

With this tragedy playing out on its doorstep, Europe cannot remain inactive. Solidarity with the persecuted communities is a moral imperative. Europe’s strategic interests and the defence of liberties also demand it.

Massoud Barzani, President of the Regional Government of Kurdistan, asked me to establish, on an extremely urgent basis, an air bridge to supply humanitarian relief from Europe to northern Iraq, as well as temporary construction materials to help local authorities meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons fleeing the barbarity of the Islamic State.

He also stressed the pressing need for weapons and ammunition that would allow him to confront and fight the Islamic State terrorist group.

It is vital for the European Union to mobilize immediately to answer this call for help. I would therefore be very grateful to you for urgently rallying Europe’s member states and institutions. A special meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council seems advisable.

France – whose first shipment of humanitarian aid I supervised yesterday – will deliver./.

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