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U.K. Deputy PM: We're not going to stand in way of U.S. action in Iraq

The U.S. has been considering options on how to respond to the growing violence in Iraq caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has seized key cities in the country.
By Aileen Graef   |   June 16, 2014 at 12:21 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, June 16 (UPI) -- U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg commented on the situation in Iraq Monday, saying the U.K. will not stand in the way of U.S. action in Iraq.

"We're certainly not going to stand in the way of action that is well-judged and well-targeted in order to try and reassert some semblance in Iraq. I'm certainly not suggesting we would rule out, if you like, passive assistance even if we are not going to embark on our own active deployment of military force ourselves," said Clegg.

The Guardian notes that such "passive assistance" could include allowing the U.S. to launch missions from the U.K. or fly in their airspace. Clegg made it clear that the U.K. would not be involved in direct military action.

"Only the U.S. can deploy the kind of action which may make a difference. We should be very clear that we are not minded to -- and that is across the coalition -- start being embroiled in further military activities ourselves in Iraq," he said.

Clegg was critical of former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair's policies on involving the country in the Iraq War.

U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague also insisted that the country has no plans to involve themselves in Iraq.

"The evidence is there for all to see what happens in the absence of cooperation. It leaves a political and military opening for extremists. We are not planning a military intervention in this situation. I cannot be clearer than that. The U.S. is much more likely to have the assets and capabilities of any outside intervention than the U.K.," Hague told the BBC.

President Obama said Thursday that the U.S. will not deploy troops on the ground. It was reported Monday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said drone strikes are being considered as a course of action for the situation in Iraq.

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