(Adds detail, background)
PARIS Aug 20 French President Francois Hollande
called on Wednesday for an international conference to discuss
ways of tackling Islamic State insurgents who have seized
control of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Hollande did not say when such a meeting could be held or
who would be invited but said a global strategy was needed to
combat the insurgents, according to remarks published in Le
"We can no longer keep to the traditional debate of
intervention or non-intervention," Hollande told Le Monde.
"We have to come up with a global strategy to fight this
group, which is structured, has significant financing, very
sophisticated weapons and threatens countries like Iraq, Syria
and Lebanon," he said.
The Islamic State has captured wide swathes of northern Iraq
since June, executing non-Sunni Muslim captives and minorities,
displacing tens of thousands of people and drawing the first
U.S. air strikes in the region since Washington withdrew troops
France, which has close ties with Iraq's Kurdish regional
government, started delivering weapons to Kurdish fighters on
Friday to help stop an advance by Islamic State into the Kurdish
"I believe the international situation is the worst we've
seen since 2001," Hollande said. "We are not dealing with a
terrorist group like al Qaeda, but a quasi-terrorist state,
Speaking on French radio on Tuesday, a Kurdish general said
French weapons' deliveries so far had not been sophisticated
enough and called on Paris to provide anti-tank missiles.
Hollande said that France's weapons' deliveries had been
carried out in agreement with the central government in Baghdad
to ensure Iraq remained united.
(Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Brian Love and Susan