Photo provided by the Council of the European Union (EU) shows German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaking to journalists when he attends an emergency meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Aug. 15, 2014. The EU on Friday gave green light for individual EU countries to send weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling Islamic militants in the north of Iraq. (Xinhua)
BRUSSELS, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- The European Union on Friday gave green light for individual EU countries to send weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling Islamic militants in the north of Iraq.
In an emergency meeting in Brussels, the foreign ministers didn't reach a united front on this issue, but they welcomed the decision by some EU countries to send arms to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq.
"The Council (also) welcomes the decision by individual member states to respond positively to the call by the Kurdish regional authorities to provide urgently military service," The EU said in a statement.
France has already committed to sending weapons to the Kurds. Italy and the Czech Republic have also backed the idea.
The EU suggested that such responses be done according to the capabilities and national laws of the member states, and with the consent of the Iraqi national authorities.
At the same time, the EU reiterated its firm commitment to Iraq's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It was warned that a decision to support the Kurds militarily could hasten a Kurdish breakaway and Kurdish state.
"Whether intentionally or not, we will end up acting as handmaiden to Kurdish ambitions for full independence - and in so doing, effectively assist in the dismemberment of Iraq," former British LibDem leader Paddy Ashdown warned in an article in the British daily, The Guardian.