The European Union hopes to build a "support group" with Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, to help Iraq stave off the threat from Islamic State fighters, a senior EU official said on Thursday.
EU foreign ministers, who will hold emergency talks on the Iraq crisis in Brussels on Friday, will discuss how "with all the ... countries in the region we could form some sort of supporting group toward Iraq," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He suggested the group could include Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Iran and others.
"It is important to have everyone on board against the ISIL (Islamic State) because this shouldn't be seen as a confrontation between the western countries and the ISIL. It should be clearly a confrontation between ISIL and all the countries of the region," the official said.
The EU's aim is to exchange information about Islamic State, including about its financing, and "to see if all together we can move ahead and try to find a way not only to stop the present ISIL offensive but also to try to push it back," the official said.
The official gave no details of how Islamic State might be pushed back, but there is little appetite among EU governments for joining the United States in military strikes against the militants.