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KUWAIT CITY, Oct 24, (Agencies): Kuwait still needs to do more to combat the financing of jihadists, a top Kuwaiti official said Monday at a meeting aimed at choking off funding for the Islamic State group. “We still have a lot to do, though we are satisfied with what we have done so far,” Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah told reporters on the sideline of a meeting of the Counter-ISIL Finance Group (CIFG) in Kuwait City.
“We are ready to cooperate with our brothers and friends,” he said, responding to US criticism of Kuwait and Qatar over their steps to cut the financing of jihadists.
No single state, no matter how big and strong it may be, can face the danger of terrorism on its own, said Al-Jarallah, who also stressed the significance of collective action to counter the phenomenon.
He referred to efforts by the international community to fight all forms of terrorism, which undermines the world’s security and stability, pointing to the resolutions issued by the UN Security Council and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) reiterating countries’ responsibility to prevent financing terrorism.
Meanwhile, Al-Jarallah affirmed Kuwait’s commitment to FATF’s recommendations on fighting terrorism, especially through legislations and other measures that guarantee transparency of information on donations to charity works overseas.
Formed early last year, CIFG is led by the United States, Italy and Saudi Arabia and is made up of over 35 countries and four international bodies. Jarallah said Kuwait “has come a long way in introducing legislation that controls the collection of (charity) donations”, a suspected channel of funding extremists. The CIFG takes a global approach to undermining the fl ow of funds to the jihadist group, according to Adam Szubin, US Treasury’s acting Under Secretary on Countering the Financing of Terrorism.
Szubin said last week that the meeting in Kuwait City aims “to share information and continue developing and coordinating countermeasures against ISIL’s (IS) financial activity worldwide”. He said the Treasury was working closely with Kuwait and Qatar in particular to strengthen the technical side of the fight against terrorism finance, but “there is room for improvement”.
Szubin said the effort to choke off funding was showing some success. IS fighters had been abandoning the fight “as their pay and benefits have been cut and delayed, in what ISIL members in Mosul are calling a ‘recession’”, he said, referring to Iraq’s battle to recapture the city from jihadists. Kuwait on Monday affirmed that bonds between the GCC countries and the Arab Republic of Egypt have been solid, noting that support for the nation particularly at the economic level would continue. The GCC states’ relations with Egypt have been strong and solid, said Al-Jarallah.
On record fall of the Egyptian pound value, Al-Jarallah said the Egyptian currency rating “is determined by the market and Egypt’s economic conditions.” He affirmed that Kuwait, along with the other GCC member states, would continue backing Egypt’s economy, its security and stability. He denied reports about a “crisis” in Egypt’s ties with the GCC countries indicating that such allegations are merely ink on paper. In further statements to journalists after the inauguration session, Al- Jarallah affirmed that Kuwait is fully prepared to cope with any eventualities emanating from the battle for control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Asked whether there are any concerns that the IS militants might move to southern Iraq and to locations close to the borders with Kuwait, Al-Jarallah said: “we ought to expect anything from this terrorist organization.” He reiterated full support for the Iraqi Government in its battle to retake Mosul and congratulated the Iraqis on their victories on the field. Al-Jarallah indicated that Kuwait was maintaining its armament policy, securing weapons from strategic allies, namely the United States of America.