French President Francois Hollande offers humanitarian aid and military support for Iraq's fight against Islamic State insurgents, ahead of a Paris meeting of IS opponents. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
French President Francois Hollande arrives in Baghdad in a show of support for Haider al-Abadi as the newly installed prime minister battles Islamic State militants. At a joint news conference, Abadi announces that France will provide air power. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI PRIME MINISTER HAIDER AL-ABADI SAYING: ''Our air power is limited and it is not at the level we want. In the future, we want to develop this power, but for now in order to confront ISIS we need huge air cover to be provided by our allies. The President of France, promised me today that France will participate in this effort to strike against the positions of terrorists. The U.S. side has already begun to carry out airstrikes. We need this air cover. We do not want forces on the ground, and they do not want to send any.'' Hollande offers no specifics on the support but focused on a forum France will be hosting Monday on tackling Islamic State financing and recruiting. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING: "On Monday, the five permanent security council members will be attending, and a large number of countries have expressed interest in participating, in showing their support for Iraq. " Later Hollande traveled to Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, where he is expected to deliver humanitarian aid in a move that one of Hollande's aides said is an effort to show that support for Iraq is not limited to military action.