Commenting on the German Bundestag’s extension of the mandate to counter IS, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas today (29 October) issued the following statement:
The so-called “Islamic State” terrorist organisation remains dangerous. IS is still actively organising underground in Iraq and Syria, and is still carrying out attacks. It has taken advantage of the fact that, during the pandemic, there has to some extent been a drop-off in pressure from its pursuers. In order to guarantee security in the region and here in Europe, we must do everything we possibly can to prevent a resurgence of IS. It is therefore important that the German Bundestag today decided to extend the Bundeswehr mandate. Our engagement within the Global Coalition against Daesh and the NATO mission is greatly appreciated in Iraq, as the Prime Minister and his Foreign and Defence Ministers again made clear during their most recent visits, nine days ago. We will continue to stand resolutely by their side in the fight against IS and to support the implementation of the ambitious Iraqi reform agenda.
The military contribution is only one element of our support for Iraq. Because we can only dry up support for IS in the long term if the people of Iraq see a tangible improvement in their living conditions. This requires firstly getting humanitarian supplies to the people on the ground. In addition, the areas liberated from IS must be stabilised in the long term – for example through mine clearance, bringing IS crimes to justice, and implementing deradicalisation programmes. And there must be the prospect of economic development for all. Germany has long been intensively engaged in these areas and is the second-largest donor in Iraq. Since the beginning of the fight against IS, we have made available a total of over 2.2 billion euro for humanitarian assistance, stabilisation measures and development cooperation.