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Jordan, allies discuss progress in anti-Daesh fight

By JT - Feb 03,2016 - Last updated at Feb 03,2016

AMMAN — Jordan on Tuesday renewed its call for coordinated international efforts to fight terror groups and its determination to go all the way in this fight.

Attending a meeting of the international coalition against the Daesh terror group, held in Rome on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh outlined Jordan's efforts in combating terror and extremism.

Judeh stressed that the Kingdom has been and will always be at the forefront of these efforts, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

The minister said Jordan is driven in the anti-terror fight by its keenness to defend Islam and its values.

He also expressed hope that the Geneva negotiations which started on Monday between Syrian factions would end with positive results and lead to achieving the envisioned political solution.

In this regard, he reaffirmed the Kingdom's “unaltered stance” in support of the political solution in Syria and the country’s peace, security and unity with the participation of all representatives of the Syrian people, and in a manner that contributes to addressing the humanitarian situation in the country.

Participants at the meeting also discussed the progress achieved by the military operations and air raids against Daesh, as well as ways to secure more commitments at all levels to weaken the terrorist group, Petra added. 

On the sidelines of the gathering, Judeh met with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and discussed with her bilateral cooperation, regional developments, international efforts exerted to fight terrorism and endeavours to achieve regional peace and stability.

In addition to Jordan, senior diplomats from the US, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, the UK, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates also attended the event.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said at the meeting that the international coalition is pushing back Daesh militants in their Syrian and Iraqi strongholds, but the group is threatening Libya and could seize the nation’s oil wealth, Reuters said.

While Western officials worry about the growing threat posed by Daesh in the former Italian colony, there was no suggestion that foreign powers were preparing to launch a major military offensive against them there for now, according to the agency.

Daesh forces have attacked Libya’s oil infrastructure and established a foothold in the city of Sirte, exploiting a power vacuum in the North African country, where two rival governments have been battling for supremacy.

“That country has resources. The last thing in the world you want is a false caliphate with access to billions of dollars of oil revenue,” Kerry said.

Under a UN-backed plan for a political transition, Libya’s two warring administrations are expected to form a unity government, but a month after the deal was agreed in Morocco, its implementation has been dogged by infighting.

Kerry said the two sides were “on the brink of getting a government of national unity”. Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said once it was in place, many countries would be prepared to respond to any request for help with security.

 

Interrupting Daesh

 

Defence ministers from the anti-Daesh group are due to meet in Brussels next week to discuss further options, while Kerry said he expected further consultations with allies at a security conference in Munich, Germany, later this month.

While Daesh remained undefeated, it had suffered many setbacks, Kerry said, losing 40 per cent of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and 20 per cent of its lands in Syria.

“Our advances ... are undeniable. We have launched nearly 10,000 air strikes, we have interrupted their finance mechanisms, they have had to cut the salaries of their fighters, we have interrupted their capacity to get revenues,” Kerry said.

The one-day Rome meeting took place as talks have begun in Geneva to try to end the five-year-old Syrian civil war, which has killed at least 250,000 people, driven more than 10 million from their homes and drawn in the United States and Russia on opposite sides.

While Washington has long said Syrian President Bashar Assad has lost the legitimacy to lead, it has made clear that its first priority is to try to rein in the Daesh group.

“If you want to beat Daesh quickly, then get a negotiated deal to end the Syria war,” Kerry said.

 

Tuesday’s meeting also covered stabilising areas such as the Iraqi city of Tikrit, which has been wrested from the group, as well as broader efforts to undercut its finances, stem the flow of foreign fighters and counter its messaging, officials said.

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