British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Monday London would provide a balanced support for the federal government in Baghdad and regional government in Kurdistan province, to step up fight against ISIL militants because airstrikes were not enough.
Iraq is facing a "great challenge" in the confrontation of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), Hammond told a joint news conference with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim Al-Jaafari.
He said the British involvement in a ground operation would serve ISIL and boost extremism. Therefore, Britain would be providing air and technical support as well as training for the Iraqi forces.
Fighting ISIL will be carried out by the Iraqi people and their military forces, he said.
Hammond said more than 60 countries have announced their support to Iraq in its war against ISIL. Defeating ISIL on the ground is the sole responsibility of the Iraqi forces, he added.
Britain will not abondon Iraq in its war against ISIL, he said, and cited military assistance to the Kurdish Peshmerga troops, coupled with political aid for the new Iraqi government.
Britain, he added, was also leading a diplomatic effort in the UN to stop funding for ISIL. London also offered 23 million pounds in humanitarian aid.
Hammond said the formation of the new Iraqi government was an important step to confront the political, security and humanitarian challenges.
Al-Jaafari, for his part, said the international coalition against ISIL should provide an air support for the Iraqi forces on the ground, in addition to logistical assistance.
"We did not ask the coalition forces for a ground military intervention in Iraq," said Al-Jaafari.
He said the support of the Arab countries to Iraq was crucial "in this critical phase."