France’s Foreign Minister warns of persistent threat from IS group in a visit to Iraq

FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, January 5, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

France’s Foreign Minister has warned of the persistent threat from the Islamic State group in a visit to Iraq yesterday, his first official trip outside the European Union since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian met with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, in Baghdad. The two leaders discussed a broad range of subjects. Le Drian said there were disturbing signs of an Islamic State resurgence and that gains made to dislodge the group should not be reversed.

IS-related attacks have increased in parallel with the coronavirus outbreak in Iraq, and as the US-led coalition withdrew from bases across the country’s north in a planned drawdown of forces.

France is a member of the US-led coalition that assisted Iraqi forces in defeating the IS in 2017. Recently, the country’s contingent of troops were withdrawn from the coalition over coronavirus fears.

Le Drian’s visit to Iraq was his first outside Europe in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.