Jeddah and London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Regional and international states pledged to “stand united against the threat posed by all terrorism” following a meeting in Jeddah on Thursday as Washington announced that it is ramping up its efforts to tackle the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including authorizing airstrikes in Syria.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers, as well as representatives from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the US, met in Jeddah on Thursday to discuss the issue of regional terrorism and extremist ideology.
The states issued a joint communique following the meeting, highlighting their “shared commitment to stand united against the threat posed by all terrorism, including the so-called Islamic State, to the region and the world.”
The regional and international leaders hailed the formation of a new inclusive Iraqi government, vowing to back its efforts to unite the Iraqi people in combatting ISIS.
The US, Gulf and Arab allies agreed to undertake a range of actions to combat terrorism, including stopping the flow of foreign fighters through neighboring countries, countering the financing of ISIS and other terrorist groups, repudiating jihadist ideology, holding those who incite terrorist to account and contributing to humanitarian relief efforts.
The regional states also agreed to “join in the many aspects of the coordinated military campaign against ISIS, as appropriate, according to the communique.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and US Secretary of State John Kerry held a joint press conference following the regional meeting in which they reiterated the global threat of terrorism.
Prince Saudi Al-Faisal said: “This danger that is propagating in the region very fiercely . . .is one that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has always warned against.”
The Saudi Foreign Minister said that the Jeddah meeting was a success, allowing the regional and international representatives to discuss a number of important issues.
He said: “The meeting today was a good opportunity to discuss this phenomena [terrorism] from all different aspects and perspectives, and to go deep in its roots and causes and reflected keenness to come up with a joint vision to combat it through military means, security means, and intelligence, as well as economic and financial means, and intellectual means also.”
The meeting sought to deal with this phenomena from a strategic, comprehensive perspective not only limited to a single country, but extends to deal with this terrorism that strikes Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen*#8212;these countries that have become safe haven for these organizations and their networks,” he added.
While Kerry affirmed that “this meeting couldn’t happen at a more important time, and frankly, it couldn’t include a more important group of partners. Every single country represented here today will be a critical part of the effort to destroy ISIS’s ability to terrorize.”
“If we take advantage of this opportunity, what we are doing now could actually become a model for cooperation. It becomes perhaps even a model for addressing extremism and isolating it, as it should be anywhere where it exists. We believe that we are all up to this task, and we believe that this is what our citizens are asking of us. We believe we will beat back the evil of ISIS and we will fight for the peaceful and secure world that people of all nations, ethnicities, religions, and sects deserve,” Kerry added.
Additional reporting by Nasser Al-Haqbani, Said Al-Abyad and Osama Al-Ghabiri in Jeddah.