BAGHDAD/PARIS (AFP, REUTERS) - Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari urged the world on Wednesday to back his country against Islamic State (ISIS) militants as French President Francois Hollande said he would arrange a conference next month on the ISIS threat in Iraq, describing the current international situation as "the most serious since 2001".
In the wake of the release of a video by ISIS purportedly showing the beheading of US journalist James Foley, Mr Zebari told Reuters that Islamic State was a threat to the world, not just to Iraq's minority ethnic groups whose members it has killed in its latest sweep through the north.
Mr Zebari and other Kurdish ministers who suspended their participation in the government of outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had earlier rejoined the administrationMr Zebari said. "I am back in Baghdad as foreign minister," Mr Zebari told Reuters. Mr Maliki had infuriated Kurdish leaders by accusing them of harboring terrorists after ISIS militants swept through northern Iraq in June.
In France, President Francois Hollande told Le Monde daily he would soon propose a conference on the security situation in Iraq and the fight against ISIS.
"I think we are in the most serious international situation since 2001," Mr Hollande told Le Monde.
"We need a global strategy against this group which is well structured, which is well financed and has very sophisticated weapons and which is threatening countries like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon," he added.
A version of the interview provided by his office had specified that Mr Hollande would lay out an "initiative... from September" but this did not appear in the final version of the Le Monde text.
France announced last week it would deliver weapons to Kurdish troops fighting ISIS fighters in northern Iraq.
"I ensured that these deliveries were done with the full agreement of the authorities in Baghdad, so there was no doubt about the use of this material," Hollande said, adding that the weapons would have to be used "within the framework of Iraqi unity".
He said the international community bore a "heavy responsibility" for what is happening in Syria, with its knock-on effects in Iraq.
"If, two years ago, we had acted to ensure a transition, we wouldn't have had Islamic State.
"If, one year ago, the major powers had reacted to the use of chemical weapons, we wouldn't have had this terrible choice between a dictator and a terrorist group," adding that the rebels "deserve all our support".