Cameron contradicts foreign office: UK not ruling out participation in air strikes in Iraq

Cameron contradicts foreign office: UK not ruling out participation in air strikes in Iraq

Hours after Britain’s foreign minister said the country wouldn’t participate in any airstrikes on Syria, Prime Minister David Cameron’s office overruled the comment Thursday and stressed that the government hadn’t discarded the use of air power.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters at a news conference in Berlin: “Let me be clear: Britain will not be taking part in any airstrikes in Syria.” He said London won’t be “revisiting” the issue after Parliament decided last year against participating in airstrikes.

But a spokesman for Cameron’s office contradicted that position, saying Cameron had in fact not ruled out action related to the Islamic State group. A spokesman insisted Hammond was referring to a Parliament vote last year opposing airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s regime.

British lawmakers are asking Cameron to clarify the government’s position and why there appeared to be a disparity between the politicians. …

Germany has decided to arm Kurdish forces fighting extremists, putting aside its usual reluctance to send weapons into conflicts. Asked about participating in airstrikes, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “We have neither been asked to do that, nor will we do that.” …

France has invited officials from Europe, the U.S., the Arab region and Russia to meet in Paris on Monday to discuss strategy against the group.

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