British Prime Minister David Cameron will begin a diplomatic blitz this week to drum up support from Arab countries for airstrikes on Iraq, The Sunday Times reported.
The prime minister’s move came after warnings from Labour and the Liberal Democrats that they will not back military action unless Saudi Arabia or Qatar are on board. Downing Street confirmed that the prime minister will attend the UN General Assembly on September 24 where Britain and America hope to unveil a broader coalition of the willing.
Aides confirmed he would woo Gulf Arab leaders in a series of phone calls over the next two weeks to join the “core coalition”.
Cameron also plans to work with Obama to get UN approval for an international crackdown on foreign fighters following moves to strip passports from British-based militants going to fight in Syria and Iraq.
Whitehall sources say Cameron will also ask his officials to draw up plans to do more to assist the moderate opposition in Syria, which risks getting wiped out in battles with Bashar al Assad’s government troops and Isis militants.
Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, last night issued the first details of the “comprehensive” plans to defeat Isil [also known as Isis] that are being mapped out with Britain’s “international allies and regional partners”.
He said: “This will involve a mix of humanitarian, military and diplomatic efforts with different nations making contributions including: training and advising the Iraqi Security forces; arming, training and advising the Kurds; technical and political support to an inclusive Iraqi Government, reinforcement of neighbouring countries against ISIL and continuing surgical strikes on ISIL.
“While we have said there will be no British combat boots on the ground, we have ruled nothing else out at this stage.”