Paris-A meeting of foreign ministers from several Western and Middle Eastern countries was held in the French capital on Thursday, to discuss the means to restore peace and stability in Mosul, after liberating the Iraqi city from ISIS terrorist group.
The meeting, which was opened by French President Francois Hollande, and attended by representatives of 23 countries and three regional and international organizations, highlighted the importance of providing humanitarian aid to the city of Mosul, as well as protecting civilians.
Only six foreign ministers were present at the meeting, including four Arab FMs from Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. The other two ministers represented the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim Jaafari chaired the ministerial meeting, which was also attended by an Iranian representative, following a late decision by France and Iraq to invite the Persian State which they said was a “major country in the region.”
French sources earlier told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that some Gulf States had voiced their objection to Iran’s presence in the meeting, but the issue was later resolved.
During the opening speech, Hollande warned that ISIS militants are already fleeing the embattled northern Iraqi city of Mosul to regroup in the Syrian city of Raqqa.
“We can’t afford mistakes in the pursuit of the terrorists who are already leaving Mosul for Raqqa,” Hollande said at the international conference co-chaired by France and Iraq.
The meeting in Paris brought together officials from 23 members of the U.S.-led coalition to decide on a stabilization plan for Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, as the offensive to recapture the ISIS bastion intensifies. The meeting was also attended by representatives from the United Nations, the Arab League and the European Union.