Kuwait firm in support of anti-IS fight – Funding target

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Representatives of the countries which are part of the small group of the global coalition to counter the Islamic State (IS) group take part in a meeting to discuss ways to further accelerate the campaign against jihadists on April 27, in Kuwait City. (AFP)
Representatives of the countries which are part of the small group of the global coalition to counter the Islamic State (IS) group take part in a meeting to discuss ways to further accelerate the campaign against jihadists on April 27, in Kuwait City. (AFP)

KUWAIT CITY, April 27, (KUNA): Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah confirmed on Wednesday Kuwait’s unequivocal support of the Global Coalition to Counter the so-called Islamic State (IS). In a speech opening the fourth meeting of the officials from the member states of the Coalition, Al-Jarallah said “Kuwait backs the international community in its efforts to bring stability to liberated areas from the grip of terrorist organizations,” adding that Kuwait also supports the international community in seeking to dry up sources of funding terrorism and in repelling electronic hacking attacks and in staving off the influx of foreign fighters to conflict areas.”

He told the meeting that Kuwait’s support involved, among other things, providing logistical support to the efforts of the international community as well as taking part in meetings such as today’s. He noted that Kuwait has hosted numerous conferences on fighting terrorism and has demonstrated its abidance by UN resolutions regarding terrorism.

Al-Jarallah said Wednesday’s meeting was taking place in the shadow of continuing threats by terrorist organizations to the peace and security of the world, so much so that these threats had moved from countries rife in conflicts to peaceful countries with no such conflicts.

For that reason, he said the international community should double its efforts at fighting this universal threat. “We as nations bear a historical responsibility to ensure a safe and secure world as codified by the UN resolution No. 2253 which urges combating terrorism and drying up its sources of funding in every shape and form,” he said.

Moreover, he indicated that the international community was closely watching meetings such as today’s to obtain cues from it as to what ought to be done decisively to defeat the ideologies and activities of terrorist organizations.

However, he cautioned that “all religions and faiths, among them Islam, espouse love, peace, tolerance, and eschew violence and extremism and in that vein it would be inappropriate to link terrorist organizations with a particular religion or race of people.” Khaled Al-Jarallah hoped on Wednesday that Syrian talks would resume in Geneva soon with all Syrian opposition groups to attending. Syrian talks are scheduled to take place in Geneva on May 10 as announced by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Speaking to reporters following the opening of the 4th meeting of officials from the member states of the International Coalition to Counter DAE’SH or the Islamic State (IS), Al-Jarallah regretted that a Syrian opposition delegation had quitted Geneva talks. He hoped that this delegation would return to Geneva soon so that negotiations could resume at an early date, citing UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s document as a roadmap for future meetings.

The Kuwaiti official reiterated his country’s commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 2253 on fighting the financing of terrorism. On First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah’s planned European tour starting from Austria, he said the tour is part of Kuwait’s diplomatic efforts.

Asked about an expected visit by French President Francois Hollande to Kuwait, he said no date has been set yet. Speaking at the meeting was also Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter IS Brett McGurk who commended Kuwait’s role in the Coalition, saying “We express our gratitude to our host, the State of Kuwait, for its important role in the Coalition and as a leader in the area of humanitarian support to the Iraqi and Syrian people, recognizing that it has to date hosted three donor conferences for Syria, co-hosted the 4 February 2016 donors conference for Syria in London and pledged USD 200 million for humanitarian aid in Iraq.” Referring to IS specifically, he said “We welcome the momentum we have witnessed in recent months against DA’ESH (IS) in Iraq and Syria.

DA’ESH (IS) continues to lose territory as well as control of strategic resupply routes and resources.” He added “DA’ESH (IS) continues to be degraded in other significant ways. It has been losing its leaders at a high rate and has lost large numbers of fighters. Its resource base is drying up as Coalition strikes have lowered Da’esh (IS) oil production by at least 30 percent and destroyed millions of dollars stored in bank vaults and other locations.”

He further said “Mindful of the many challenges DA’ESH (IS) poses in diverse regions, we remain committed to sustaining momentum of the Global Coalition to Counter DA’ESH (IS)” noting that the next meeting of the Coalition was planned for July 2016 in Washington. The Small Group of the Global Coalition to counter DA’ESH (IS) stressed on Wednesday its continuing “deep concern” over the humanitarian situation in Iraq and Syria.

This came out in a statement issued by the Group’s meeting earlier Wednesday at the invitation of Kuwait to coordinate the Group’s efforts in alleviating conditions in Iraq and Syria and in affirming its determination to counter the terrorist activities of the so-called Islamic State (IS).

The statement urged the international community to keep tabs on the humanitarian situation in these two countries in line with the pledges made at the London donors conference last February toward helping the Syrian refugees. Further, the statement noted that IS still remained a “threat” despite its recent losses and scaling back of its terrorist activities, stressing that defeating IS was “an arduous and long” task.

The statement emphasized the Group’s commitment to supporting civil and military undertakings to free the areas in Iraq and Syria currently occupied by IS and to rehabilitate them and help the freed populations there to get back on their feet. Moreover, the statement said the Group would stick by UN resolutions condemning and fighting terrorism and would seek to dry up funding for IS and its recruitment of foreign fighters and illegal trade.

The Group welcomed the establishment of coalition centers that deal with fighting IS electronically through the use of the internet and the social media networks, among other hi-tech methods. The Group said that removing landmines and explosives from liberated areas from the grip of IS and the training of local law enforcement were important in rehabilitating these areas.

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