Dutch government does not 'rule out' arming the Kurds
The Dutch government 'does not rule out that the Netherlands will contribute' to military support for the Kurds if the current security threat continues, foreign minister Frans Timmermans told parliament on Thursday.
In the same written briefing, he also said the Islamic State is 'probably responsible' for very serious international crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, making it essential to stop further escalation and to offer help.
The government also supports the US air attacks above Iraq, but this is restricted to 'political support', Timmersmans said.
'A Dutch contribution to the bombing is not on the cards,' he said, pointing out that the US has not asked the Netherlands for military help.
Timmermans also said that Nouri al-Maliki's attempt to cling to power by remaining prime minister is 'not conducive to the political process in Iraq'.
He welcomed the nomination of Haider al-Abadi as the new prime minister and said pushing back the Islamic State and avoiding further humanitarian suffering must be the Iraqi government's priority.
On Wednesday evening, aid minister Liliane Ploumen told parliament the Netherlands is sending parachutes, food and blankets to the air drops over northern Iraq.