Paris: Having wrapped up a “successful” Middle East trip to shore up support for US President Barack Obama's game plan against the Islamic State, Secretary of State John Kerry said he was “encouraged” by the cooperation offered by the nations to fight the IS militarily.
According to a BBC report, some 40 nations, including 10 Arab states have agreed to be a part of the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition and have also offered military assistance.
The key highlight of Kerry's Mideast tour is said to be a communique signed in Jeddah by 10 Sunni Arab governments, who have wowed to contribute their share to fight the IS, adds the report.
The ten Arab states that have agreed to join US in fighting the IS are - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
Highlighting Kerry's success in talks with the Gulf States, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also tweeted the clip of a Jeddah newspaper, with “US-Arab coalition vows to crush IS" in bold headlines.
— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) September 12, 2014
Kerry, who claims having won "full-throated" support from Sunni governments, will on Monday be meeting foreign ministers from dozens of countries in Paris to discuss how to rein in the IS, added the BBC.
The Paris conference will also be hosted by Iraqi President Fouad Massoum. And British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond will be one of the key figures attending the talks.
Efforts to stitch up an international anti-IS coalition picked up momentum after the IS released beheading videos of two US journalists and the Paris talks come just a day after the IS posted another video on Sunday, showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines.
Speaking to the CBS' Face The Nation, after his Mideast trip across five nations - Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia - Kerry said that he was “extremely encouraged” with the nations' readiness and willingness to participate in the anti-IS coalition, including “military assistance, in actual strikes”.
Speaking to Bob Schieffer of CBS, Kerry added that the US air strikes against the ISIS targets in Syria will not be coordinated with the Assad regime.
Syria had earlier agreed to US strikes against the ISIS on its oil, but only when coordinated with its government. However, mocking Syrian regime, Kerry said, “we’re not going to coordinate. It’s not a cooperative effort. We’re going to do what they haven’t done, what they had plenty of opportunity to do, which is to take on ISIL and to degrade it and eliminate it as a threat. And we will do that with allies.”
Speaking about his remark of the “US not being at war with the ISIL” being in contradiction with that of the Pentagon, Kerry called it “a tortured debate going on about terminology” and explained that it was not a war as combat troops on ground were not involved.
However, Kerry added , “But in terms of al Qaeda, which we have used the word “war” with, yeah, we went – we’re at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates, and in the same context, if you want to use it, yes, we’re at war with ISIL in that sense.”
Kerry added that it was a sheer waste of time to focus on the terminology, and what mattered really is to focus on “how to degrade and defeat ISIL”.