STATE DEPARTMENT — In a show of unity against Islamic State terrorism, the U.S. State Department hosted 68 foreign ministers and other leaders from all over the world to discuss their global coalition strategy to defeat the extremist group.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said hard-fought military victories have swung momentum in the coalition’s favor, but added that no one can rest while IS remains an active and violent foe.
Tillerson: Degradation Not the Goal, We Must Defeat ISIS
“As we’ve said before,” Tillerson continued, “when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. We must continue to keep our focus on the most urgent matter at hand.”
Before last year’s presidential election, candidate Donald Trump accused President Barack Obama of being weak on terrorism. Obama said Trump’s campaign assertions were refuted by the gains U.S. and allied forces were making against Islamic State.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who also addressed the meeting Wednesday in Washington, said the terrorist group has now been “completely decimated” in his country.
In his speech Wednesday, Tillerson looked beyond the current battlegrounds, asking other countries to boost their contributions once IS fighters have been expelled from Iraq and Syria:
“We must keep making the investment in liberated areas in Iraq and Syria to help innocent people rebuild and stabilize their communities. Right now, this means continuing to clear explosives, restore water and power, deliver humanitarian and resettlement assistance, and forge partnerships with local leaders who reject extremism.”
Tillerson noted that the United States has contributed 75 percent of the military resources toward expelling Islamic State forces from Iraq and Syria. Now, he said, U.S. coalition partners should step forward and pay 75 percent of the estimated $2 billion needed this year for stabilization and reconstruction of those areas.
“The United States will do its part, but the circumstances on the ground require more from all of you,” the secretary of state told the assembled foreign ministers. “I ask each country to examine how it can best support these vital stabilization efforts, especially in regard to contribution of military and financial resources.”
Source – VOA