French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defence Minister Florence Parly arrived Saturday in Baghdad to affirm their country’s support in the war on ISIS, Iraqi State TV said.
Le Drian and Parly will discuss with Iraqi leaders the fight against ISIS, the stabilisation of cities destroyed in the conflict and means to assist refugees, according to diplomats.
The visit of the French ministers comes as Iraqi forces battle to recapture the northern city of Tal Afar from ISIS militants following their July victory over the group in second city Mosul.
Both ministers are scheduled to meet Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, as well as Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani later in Arbil.
Le Drian and Parly will stress for al-Abadi calls by Pentagon chief Jim Mattis to postpone next month’s independence referendum.
France is a main partner in the US-led coalition standing by Baghdad to fight the militants who seized parts of Iraq in 2014 offensive.
French forces have carried out air and artillery strikes in support of Iraqi operations.
“As long as our common enemy has not been eradicated, France will continue to take part in the campaign”, Parly stated.
The ministers will further discuss the fate of some French militants who were captured by Iraqi forces, according to a French diplomatic source.
Paris says up to 700 French nationals are fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, where around 300 French militants have been killed since 2014, according to AFP.