Pompeo affirms US fight against IS to continue

WASHINGTON, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s announcement of US troops withdrawal from Syria is not be the end of America’s fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria.

In opening remarks at Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of (IS), Pompeo told the 79-member Coalition “the fight is one that we will continue to wage alongside of you.” On President Donald Trump’s announcement to withdraw the 2,000 US troops from Syria, he stressed “the withdrawal of troops is essentially a tactical change, it is not a change in the mission.” He added “it simply represents a new stage in an old fight ? our policy towards Syria remains unchanged.” “We must recommit ourselves to the goal of permanently defeating (IS),” he reiterated and that “there must be no more safehaven from which it can operate.” He affirmed that “in this new era, local law enforcement and information sharing will be crucial and our fight will not always be military lead.” He said the world is “entering an era of decentralized jihad so we must be nimble in our approach as well.” He called on coalition partners to “seriously and rapidly consider requests that will enable our efforts to continue,” and that those requests “are likely to come very soon.” On Iraq, Pompeo said “we need to also reaffirm our support for the government of Iraq in its fight against terrorism.” He concluded saying that his message is “America will continue to lead in giving those who would destroy us no quarter.” “We ask each of your countries to stand with us and, through our efforts and God’s help, the day will come when the permanent defeat of (IS) is a reality,” he remarked.

For his part, the Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Alhakim thanked in his remarks all countries that have supported Iraq “and continue to support us in our war against terrorism.” “I also extend the thanks of Iraq as people and government to our brotherly country Kuwait for hosting the conference on the reconstruction of Iraq in February 2018 and the countries that have joined these efforts,” he noted.

He called on all countries to help Iraq fight “sleeping cells of Daesh all over the coutnry and to help Iraq restore its stability.” He affirmed that “Iraq is determined, with the help of the international community, to achieve justice and accountability” for the crimes committed by IS against the Iraqi people, “especially against ethnic and religious groups in Iraq.” He stressed the importance “to intensify the coalition efforts in order to fight terrorism in Syria and ensuring that it does not return while taking into consideration the integrity of the Syrian territory in order to maintain the great victory that we have achieved against trans-national terrorism.” Meanwhile, the Department of State affirmed that the “full” 79-member Coalition is meeting for “in-depth discussions on the impending territorial defeat of (IS) in Iraq and Syria, which is the result of four years of Coalition and our partners’ efforts, and a significant milestone towards delivering (IS) an enduring defeat.” It affirmed that these meetings are taking place at a “key moment in our coordinated fight,” as the US is “determined to prevent a resurgence of (IS) in Syria and Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria takes place.” It noted that the US “remains committed to working with the Global Coalition to continue to destroy (IS) remnants and thwart its global ambitions.” “As (IS) is defeated on the battlefield, the Coalition will continue its stabilization efforts to facilitate the safe and voluntary return home of those who have been displaced by the violence,” it stressed.

Earlier today, Pompeo also hosted a Syria Small Group Ministerial during the Global Coalition to Defeat IS Ministerial.

Source: Kuwait News Agency