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PM rules out UK troops for Iraq


British troops will not be returning to Iraq

British troops will not be returning to Iraq

British troops will not be returning to Iraq

UK military support for Iraq in the fight against Islamist extremists in the north of the country is "not on the table", Downing Street has said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has appealed for help from the international community after militants fighters effectively seized control of the country's second largest city Mosul earlier this week.

The fighters are believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al Qaida splinter group that is one of the most ruthless rebel organisations both in Iraq and across the border in Syria.

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said that the UK was ready to offer assistance on the diplomatic level to the Baghdad government.

But asked if British troops could be sent to the Middle Eastern country, he replied: "That is just not on the table."

The spokesman said: "We will certainly continue to work through all the diplomatic channels, and that includes partnership working with all the countries in the region."

The Foreign Office had already made clear that Britain condemns the attacks carried out by militants in northern Iraq, said the spokesman.

"Our message is around the importance of the Iraqi government working with partners in the region - for instance the Kurdistan regional government," he said.

"The right role for us and others is the one the G7 discussed last week, in terms of G7 countries working with a number of countries in the region to support the work they are doing in tackling this arc of extremism."