World

Iraqi president: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE don't need to join airstrikes against Islamic State

  • Officials install an Iraq flag on the car upon the arrival of Iraq President Fouad Massoum, and Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari at Orly airport south of Paris, France, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 ahead of a conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande and diplomats from around the world. On Monday, Paris will host international talks seeking a strategy against the militants in Iraq, where they have overrun hundreds of miles of land in the country's north and west. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    Officials install an Iraq flag on the car upon the arrival of Iraq President Fouad Massoum, and Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari at Orly airport south of Paris, France, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 ahead of a conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande and diplomats from around the world. On Monday, Paris will host international talks seeking a strategy against the militants in Iraq, where they have overrun hundreds of miles of land in the country's north and west. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • Neighbors enter the garden of the house where David Haines, the British hostage beheaded by extremists, lived with his wife and a four-year-old daughter, in Sisak, central Croatia, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Haines is the third Westerner beheaded in recent weeks by the Islamic State group, which has seized vast swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq. The first two were U.S. journalists. (AP Photo/Eldar Emric)

    Neighbors enter the garden of the house where David Haines, the British hostage beheaded by extremists, lived with his wife and a four-year-old daughter, in Sisak, central Croatia, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Haines is the third Westerner beheaded in recent weeks by the Islamic State group, which has seized vast swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq. The first two were U.S. journalists. (AP Photo/Eldar Emric)  (The Associated Press)

Iraq's president says Arab powers Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia do not need to join airstrikes against the Islamic State group.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, President Fouad Massoum also expressed regret that Iran was not invited to take part in the 26-nation conference in Paris on Monday to try to counter the Islamic extremists who control vast parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

The conference of mostly Western and Arab world countries and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members aims to show a united front, especially from majority-Muslim nations.

A U.S. State Department official said that several Arab countries had offered to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State fighters.

Massoum says it's "not necessary" for Egypt, UAE or Saudi Arabia to participate in airstrikes.