Islamic State must be confronted, says Arab League chief

Arab League general secretary Nabil al-Arabi speaks during a press conference. AFP Photo

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Sunday called for a military and political confrontation with Islamic State jihadists and other militants he said threatened the existence of Arab states.
Arabi's remarks, at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers, came as the United States expanded air strikes against the militants in Iraq and sought wider regional backing for its campaign.
"What is needed is a clear decision for a comprehensive confrontation, militarily and politically," Arabi said a day after he and US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed taking action against the jihadist group that controls parts of Syria and Iraq.
An Arab League diplomat told reporters that the ministers were considering adopting a resolution on combating IS and "coordinating with the United States to confront this terrorist organisation".
Arabi criticised infighting between Arab states which he said had led to inaction by the 22-member bloc.
"While some (Arab) states object to allowing the Arab League to intervene in their internal crises, the floodgates are opened to foreign intervention, including militarily," he said.
Arabi, a former foreign minister of Egypt, called for the activation of an Arab defence treaty to allow for military action when needed.
Iraq earlier welcomed US President Barack Obama's plan for an international coalition against jihadists as a "strong message of support", after repeatedly calling for aid against the militants.
Obama outlined the plan at a NATO summit Friday for a broad coalition to defeat IS, which led an offensive that overran parts of Iraq in June and also holds significant territory in neighbouring Syria.

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