Iraq crisis: Obama and leaders told ‘people are dying, you must come back from holiday' by French Foreign Minister
Mr Obama faces accusations of being an 'absentee President'
The French Foreign Minister has slammed Western leaders such as Barack Obama for continuing their holidays in the midst of the crisis in Iraq, saying that vacations should end immediately because “people are dying.”
“I know it is the holiday period in our Western countries,” Laurent Fabius told France Info Radio on Tuesday after returning from visiting refugees in Irbil, “but when people are dying, you must come back from vacation.”
Mr Fabius rounded on Mr Obama as he enjoyed his annual vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the Massachusetts coast, while fighters from the Islamic State (Isis) continued to advance on swathes of northern Iraq.
The United Nations has declared its highest level of emergency in Iraq, where an estimated 1.2 million people have been internally displaced by IS militants.
The UK Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday returned from his holiday a day early to chair a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee on the situation in Iraq.
Mr Obama has already been accused of being an 'absentee President' while conflicts rage in Gaza and Iraq. Earlier this week, the Republican senator for Texas Ted Cruz argued he should “spend less time on the golf course and more time doing the job to which he was elected".
Fox broadcaster Sean Hannity also attacked Mr Obama in a televised address, telling the President it was time for him to skip his “lavish million dollar Martha’s Vineyard vacation”.
"You need to be in the Situation Room,” he said. “You may be surprised to learn what has actually happened in the six years since you have become the leader of the free world.”
The former vice president Dick Cheney and his wife Liz criticised him for golfing while “terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history”.
Video: Iraqi refugees find shelter
Democrat and former governor of Ohio Ted Strickland was one of the few to step in and defend the President, saying. “If the president walked on water, he would be criticised for not being able to swim."
The White House responded to criticism by saying the President would return to the White House if there was any need for him to, adding: “it's not a long flight back.”
Mr Obama is due to make a brief return to Washington this weekend, before resuming his holiday.
Earlier today, the US said it is ‘far less likely” to undertake a humanitarian mission to rescue thousands of refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar.
The US defence secretary Chuck Hagel said thousands of refugees have been successfully evacuated and those remaining appeared to be in a relatively good condition after receiving aid drops.
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Jason Derulo falling over in epic fashion, the event's most talked about moment, wasn't what it seemed
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...