Italy stands with Kurdistan in ‘common challenge’ of fighting ISIS

Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti and US Gen. Martin Dempsey

ERBIL, Kurdistan (Rudaw) – Italy stands behind Kurdistan in the “common challenge” of fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) group, visiting Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti said in Erbil.

“In order to halt ISIS we had to support the Kurdistan region, since we feel it is a common challenge,” she told Kurdish President Masoud Barzani in a meeting on Wednesday.

Pinotti, who was on a short two-day-visit to Iraq to assess the joint operations against ISIS across the country, praised the Kurdish defense against ISIS, which she described as “foes of the civilized world.”

Barzani also congratulated Italy for its role in supporting Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces and called on Arab and Muslim countries to “fight ISIS both militarily and ideologically.”

“Without openly referring to any country, he said: “some countries made a mistake in capitalizing on terror (organizations) in pursuit of their regional rivalries.”

“Terror is a genuine threat and in the end it will harm these countries and everybody else,” he warned.

US officials have in the past criticized both Turkey and Saudi Arabia for sponsoring ISIS in Syria, though Ankara and Riyadh have categorically rebuffed the accusations.

Italy is a member of the US-led coalition against ISIS and has sent both arms and trainers to Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces.