Baghdad, Iraq (BBN)-The advance of Islamic State militants (IS) in Iraq is a “failure” of the world, Iraq’s prime minister has said.
Haider al-Abadi also said sanctions on Russia and Iran had made it difficult for Iraq to buy more weapons, saying the country had received “almost none”.
Ministers from 20 countries are in Paris to discuss ways to step up the fight against IS – but Russia, Iran and Syria are not part of the talks, reports BBC.
IS has recently made gains in Iraq despite US-led coalition air strikes.
Officials said the meeting in the French capital would focus on recapturing cities from IS and halting the group’s flow of funds and fighters.
Last month, IS militants seized Ramadi in Anbar, Iraq’s largest province, as well as the strategically important Syrian town of Tadmur and the neighbouring ancient ruins of Palmyra.
‘AIR SUPPORT NOT ENOUGH’
Mr Abadi, who is attending the talks, said Iraq needed “all the support of the world” to counter the IS advance, but was “not getting much”.
“I think this is a failure on the part of the world. There is a lot of talk of support for Iraq, there is very little on the ground.”
“Air support is not enough. There is too little surveillance. [IS militants are] mobile and move in very small groups. It’s not enough,” Mr Abadi added.
He also urged the international community to help Iraq purchase weapons to fight the group, complaining that sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine and on Iran over its nuclear programme, meant his government was unable to buy arms from either country.
“The money is there sitting in the bank, but we cannot get [the weapons],” he told reporters. “We are not asking for arms, but please let us purchase arms easily.”
Iraq has become increasingly reliant on Iranian-backed Shia militias to take on IS in recent months, raising fears of worsening sectarian tensions as they seek to drive the jihadist group out of predominantly Sunni areas like Anbar.
The role of the militias is adding to what France has called “an especially fragile” situation, reports the BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Paris.
Ministers will discuss “lasting political solutions in order to resolve the Iraqi crisis,” the French foreign ministry said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will miss the meeting because of a cycling accident.
The meeting comes a day after an IS suicide attack on a police base in Anbar province killed at least 45 people. Those who died were initially thought to all be federal police officers but a source later told the BBC that 15 Iranian military advisers were among them.
A senior security source in Anbar meanwhile told the BBC that the “final touches” were being put to a plan to drive IS out of Ramadi.
The source said six Iranian-made rocket launchers had been transported to the frontline and that 3,000 fighters had completed basic training near Habbaniya military base, east of Ramadi, in preparation for the assault on the city.
As well as discussing the military situation, the meeting in Paris is expected to address threats to cultural heritage, protection of persecuted minorities and the refugee crisis created by the conflict.
IS has already destroyed ancient sites in Iraq that pre-date Islam and there are fears it may do the same to the ruins of Palmyra, a Unesco World Heritage site.
Also on Monday, the BBC broadcast footage appearing to show IS militants torturing a 14-year-old Syrian boy. The video was filmed by an IS defector.