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Iraq PM open to Russian airstrikes on Islamic State militants

Screengrab of FRANCE24's interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told FRANCE24 in an exclusive interview broadcast on Thursday that he is open to allowing Russia to carry out air strikes against Islamic State group militants in Iraq.

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"Not yet. It is a possibility. If we get the offer, we will consider it," Abadi told FRANCE24.

"It is in our interest to share information with Russia. Russia has a lot of information. The more information we gather the more I can protect the Iraqi people," Abadi added.

On Wednesday, Russian warplanes began air strikes in neighbouring Syria, saying it would hit the Islamic State group "and other terrorist groups."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference that Moscow was not planning to expand its air strikes to Iraq.

"We were not invited or asked," Lavrov said. "We don't come if we're not invited."

Abadi told FRANCE 24 on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly, “We were expecting the international coalition, Americans to bring massive air power to protect our forces.

"We haven't received that. At the moment we are getting support, but it's not major, it's limited. What matters for us is how best to fight Daesh (the Islamic State group)", the prime minister said.

Watch our exclusive interview with Abadi in the player above.
 

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