Iraq FM predicts longer campaign against ISIS in Syria

Ibrahim al-Jaafari spoke to Al Arabiya’s Talal al-Hajj

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Defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq will require less time than in neighboring Syria, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told Al Arabiya’s Talal al-Hajj in New York on Monday.

Jaafari said 41 states were standing beside Iraq in its campaign against the militant group and also said any foreign cooperation in the mission was in coordination with the Iraqi army.

He also said Baghdad would welcome Iraq’s help in the fight against ISIS, the militant group that has gained almost a third of Iraq, as long as this did not mean surrendering national sovereignty to Tehran.

The minister warned that Iraq was in “crucial war” against ISIS and asked that the country not be abandoned in its fight against the militants.

Jaafari, who is in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting, also said there was a positive break with the past in terms of ties with Arab states after the nomination of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

He said Baghdad’s relations with Arab states would not be as they had been in the past.

He also noted that Saudi Arabia, through its foreign minister, had taken the decision to reopen its embassy in Iraq.

On the delay in nominating candidates for two key ministerial portfolios in Abadi’s government, Jaafari predicted that the impasse would end shortly.

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