EU foreign affairs head to visit Iraq

Mogherini will meet top Iraqi officials

BRUSSELS - EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini will visit Iraq next week for talks with government and Kurdish leaders as the country struggles to drive back Islamic State jihadi fighters.
Mogherini "will send a message of solidarity and confirm the EU readiness to deepen the relationship with Iraq," a statement said Friday.
She will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and other officials before visiting Arbil on Tuesday for talks with Massud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan region.
Mogherini "will discuss the major challenges facing the Kurdistan region ... both with regard to the fight against ISIL and in confronting the humanitarian disaster that ISIL has created," her office said, using an alternative name for the extremist IS group.
The European Union has so far provided 20 million euros ($24 million) in humanitarian aid to help cope with the thousands of people displaced when IS seized control of huge swathes of Iraq earlier this year.
The EU "stands ready to provide further political, humanitarian and development support to Iraq in its fight against violent extremism," the statement added.
Mogherini's predecessor, Catherine Ashton, visited Iraq and Arbil in June 2013.