US praises Netherlands for joining IS fight
The White House on Friday welcomed Dutch participation in air strikes on the Islamic State group in Iraq, with F-16 fighters from the Netherlands poised to join the action as early as the weekend.
"The United States welcomes the decision this week by the government of the Netherlands to send up to eight F-16 fighters and 250 support personnel to conduct air strikes against ISIL (IS) in Iraq," a White House statement said.
Earlier Friday, Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said in a letter to the Dutch parliament that the F-16s "could commence operations this weekend."
The Netherlands previously said it would send six F-16s to take part in the campaign to smash the jihadists, plus two in reserve. However the country said it would not join air strikes in Syria without a UN mandate.
Dutch personnel will also train Iraqi security forces, among other measures, as the Netherlands join a growing international coalition against the Islamic State group, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria.
"These actions demonstrate the continued commitment and leadership by the Dutch to take action as necessary to counter threats to international peace and stability," the White House said.
"The United States is proud of its longstanding friendship and partnership with the Netherlands and its people, and we look forward to working closely with them and other international partners in our comprehensive approach to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL."
© 2014 AFP