PARIS (TheBlaze/AP) — Iraq's president said it's "not necessary" that Arab powers Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia participate in airstrikes against the Islamic State group.
President Fouad Massoum also expressed regret that Iran was not invited to take part in the 26-nation conference in Paris on Monday to try to counter the Islamic extremists who control vast parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria, during an exclusive interview with the Associated Press.
Iraq President Fouad Massoum, right, followed by Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, left, arrive with Iraqi officials at Orly airport south of Paris, France, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 ahead of a conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande and diplomats from around the world. The conference on Monday aimed at helping Iraq fight off extremists from the Islamic State group, with an added urgency following the release of a video showing the beheading of a British aid worker, the third Western hostage killed in recent weeks by the militants. (Image source: AP/Francois Mori)
The conference of mostly Western and Arab world countries and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members aims to show a united front, especially from majority-Muslim nations.
Several Arab countries had offered to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State fighters, a U.S. State Department official said.