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Russia Tells Iraq It's 'Ready' to Support Fight Against ISIS

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Russia said Friday that it would help to support Iraq in the fight against ISIS. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the pledge to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said via state-run news agency Itar-Tass. "During the meeting, Lavrov confirmed Russia’s support for Iraq’s independence, territory integrity and sovereignty," the foreign ministry said. "Moscow is ready to continue supporting Iraq in its efforts in fighting the terrorist threat, and, first of all, the one from the Islamic State."

The U.S. has been trying to build a broad coalition to tackle ISIS. Russia's foreign ministry did not mention this Washington-led group Friday, saying only that Russia would protect Iraq’s interests. At least one foreign ministry official has previously said Russia would not join. While Lavrov made the pledge to Iraq, Moscow has been far more cautious over its ally Syria, which has also been partially overrun by ISIS. President Vladimir Putin told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday that any airstrikes in the country should be carried out with Syria's consent.

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