Czech PM says that Europe will not put boots on the ground in Iraq or Syria
Czech President Miloš Zeman is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly later on Tuesday, with a speech to focus on the threat of Islamic extremism. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is also in New York, at the invitation of US President Barack Obama. He is scheduled to take part in two summits on terrorism and Islamic State.
“We contributed twice with munitions which were given to Iraq but namely to the Kurds, we are preparing a project for the training of Iraqi police officers, we will provide L-159 fighter jets to Iraq, and we are providing humanitarian aid to refugees who have escaped from Islamic State. These are all activities which rank us among the more active members of the coalition.”
The premier told Czech TV that regarding military victories the Kurds had been largely successful at pushing back Islamic State at the Turkish-Syrian border but said that more was needed from Iraqi forces themselves. More than a year on, IS still holds large swathes of both Iraq and war-torn Syria and are showing no signs of folding. Mr Sobotka, however, ruled out ground forces when it came to defeating the organization. The prime minister again:
Any final military defeat of Islamic State, Prime Minister Sobotka said, would have to be achieved by Arab states receiving air support, training, and aid from members of the coalition. Until IS were defeated, he also suggested, there is unlikely to be a drop in the number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe.