Iraqi, French Presidents call for reducing regional tension

Iraqi President Barham Salih and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have called for reducing regional tensions and stressed the need to continue international efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.

A statement by the Iraqi presidency’s media office said that Salih and Macron spoke over the phone on Wednesday and discussed the bilateral relations and means to strengthen them in various fields through agreements and previously concluded understandings between the two sides, reports Xinhua news agency.

“They reviewed regional developments and stressed the importance of observing calm and restraint, protecting regional stability, and adopting dialogue to avoid tensions to enhance regional security and stability.

“The two Presidents confirmed that terrorism aims to prevent peaceful coexistence among human beings, asserting the need for international solidarity to confront extremist ideas and work together to spread the values of coexistence,” the statement added.

Salih said: “Iraq, in cooperation with its allies and friends, is moving forward in the war against the Islamic State (IS) group and pursuing its sleeper cells,” according to the statement.

France is part of a US-led international coalition tasked with helping the Iraqi security forces fight against the IS militants by carrying out airstrikes against their positions in Iraq and Syria as well as providing military equipment and training to Iraqi forces.