France will help reconstruction and reconciliation efforts in Iraq as it emerges from the war against ISIS, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday after talks with Iraqi officials in Baghdad.
France is a main partner in the US-led coalition helping Baghdad fight the militants who seized parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014. The coalition provided key air and ground support to Iraqi forces in the nine-month campaign to take back Mosul, ISIS’ capital in Iraq.
The city’s fall in July effectively marked the end of the “caliphate” declared by ISIS’ leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over parts of Iraq and Syria. Iraqi forces were close to taking back full control of IS’s northwestern stronghold of Tal Afar on Saturday.
“We are present in the war and we will be present in the peace,” Le Drian told a news conference in Baghdad with French Defence Minister Florence Parly and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
“Even if our joint combat against ISIS is not finished, it is entering a phase of stabilization, of reconciliation, of reconstruction, a phase of peace,” Le Drian said, calling ISIS by its Arabic acronym.
France will give a 430 million euro ($513 million) loan to Iraq before the end of the year, a French diplomatic source said.
The French ministers were also due to meet Iraqi Kurdish leaders in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region, whose Peshmerga fighters have played a prominent role in the fight against ISIS.