Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 6th March 2015.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Iraqi counterpart on strengthening Iraqi military forces.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The strengthening of Iraq’s security forces forms a regular part of our engagement with the Government of Iraq, including when the Foreign Secretary hosted the inaugural meeting of the Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL on 22 January. The meeting was attended by both Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari. Discussions included the need to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against ISIL, as well as the need for progress in strengthening Iraq’s political stability through addressing Sunni disenfranchisement. This would include progress on the creation of a National Guard, legislation in this regard would, in part, see Sunni tribal forces brought under the aegis of Iraq’s security forces, politically and militarily drawing together Sunni and Shia in their common fight against ISIL.

The UK is actively contributing to the Global Coalition’s efforts in support of Iraqi Forces including conducting over 150 strikes and training over 1000 members of the Kurdish Peshmerga. In addition to our earlier delivery of lethal equipment to the Peshmerga, which included 40 Heavy Machine Guns, subject to parliamentary scrutiny, we will also gift 1000 surplus VALLON Counter-IED metal detectors to Iraq, and deploy a team to provide training in their use.

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