Germany: Liberation of Mosul must not be affected by 'foreign interests' says Steinmeier

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German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari came together for a rare meeting in Berlin on Monday. The two diplomats mainly discussed the battle against the so-called Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL) focusing on the liberation of Mosul and the international coalition supporting the Iraqi government.

Steinmeier called for “unity and solidarity in Iraq”, saying it was vital for the country’s liberation. However he also urged anyone to adhere to prior agreements and not let “foreign interests” interfere with the process. Al-Jaafari made it clear that the sovereignty of Iraq must not be undermined, adding this is where the government draws “a red line”.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister (German): “[There is] no easy way for the international coalition against IS [Islamic State] and [for] the Iraqi government. Mosul is the last big stronghold of IS in Iraq."

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister (German): "One of the premises for a successful liberation of Mosul is unity and solidarity in Iraq."

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iraqi Foreign Minister (Arabic): “Here, I would like to tell you that our true battle is against ISIS. We don't want to start any other battles with other countries, we want to reach out to all countries but we will not accept it if other regions or countries get involved in the authority of Iraq. The sovereignty of Iraq is a limit that we will not cross, that is a red line that we draw."

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister (German): "What is important now is that the agreements that were made before the liberation of Mosul will be lived up to in reality, that those that are rather influenced by foreign interests will keep distance on the march on the inner city and that the inner city will be liberated by Sunni and Iraqi troops in the end. I hope that this agreement stands and won't be broken by single groups, no matter if it is Shia militias or Peshmerga or others."

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