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French foreign minister goes to Iraq to oversee aid deliveries to persecuted minority groups

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PARIS — France says Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has gone to Iraq to supervise French aid delivery and show support.

A ministry statement Sunday said Fabius was visiting Baghdad and Irbil, in the Kurdistan region, and meeting with representatives of Christians and Yazidis. The minorities are being persecuted by the Islamic State group — radical Islamists who are taking over strategic swaths of northern Iraq.

PHOTO: Kurdish demonstrators staged a protest in Paris, Saturday Aug. 9, 2014, in support of  Kurds and Christians living in Iraq.  Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians and ethnic minorities are facing potential slaughter by Islamist militants in Iraq. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Kurdish demonstrators staged a protest in Paris, Saturday Aug. 9, 2014, in support of Kurds and Christians living in Iraq. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians and ethnic minorities are facing potential slaughter by Islamist militants in Iraq. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Fabius was also supervising distribution of humanitarian aid, the statement said.

On Saturday, President Francois Hollande spoke with Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, assuring him that France "will stand by the civilian population, victims of continued exactions of the Islamic State."

Hollande also spoke Saturday with President Barack Obama, saying France "will take its full place" among nations willing to help the Kurdish minorities in Iraq.

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