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EU to hold emergency meeting on Iraq and Ukraine

Source: Reuters - Wed, 13 Aug 2014 18:09 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds details, German government quote)

BRUSSELS, Aug 13 (Reuters) - European Union foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the conflicts in Iraq and Ukraine, the EU said on Wednesday.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton "has decided to convene an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council this Friday, 15 August, in Brussels on the EU's response to major ongoing crises, focusing on Iraq and Ukraine," a spokesman for Ashton said.

EU officials said Gaza and Libya would also be on the agenda for the meeting, which is expected to start at 12 p.m. (1000 GMT).

Current EU president Italy and France have been pressing for an emergency foreign ministers' meeting to discuss Iraq, where advances by Sunni Muslim militants have created a humanitarian crisis.

Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini welcomed the meeting and said it must produce not just a declaration of shared principle on the crises but "a decision on a strong and co-ordinated course of action".

"This is the objective for which we have insisted on the need to immediately convene the Foreign Affairs Council," Mogherini said in a statement.

A spokesman for the German foreign ministry said earlier in Berlin there was "an existential threat to ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq, for the state and for the whole region".

"The German government thinks it is very important that there is a European response... it is particularly important to have a coherent European response in terms of equipment and humanitarian aid," he added. (Reporting by Adrian Croft; additional reporting by Alexandra Hudson in Berlin and Gavin Jones in Rome; editing by Andrew Roche)

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