New York: President Barack Obama met Arab leaders in New York on Tuesday to thank them for joining a coalition aimed at "rolling back" the threat of violent extremists.
Speaking just hours after he launched air strikes against militants from the Islamic State group in Syria, Obama said the coalition "represents partners and friends with which we have worked for many, many years to make sure that security and prosperity exists in this region."
Flanked by Secretary of State John Kerry and national security advisor Susan Rice, Obama told the leaders of Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq he was "very appreciative" of their help.
He praised them "all for their participation and commitment to rolling back the violent extremism that has so disrupted Iraq and Syria and friends in the region as a whole."
"What we`ve all seen is with the emergence of ISIL so much progress is threatened, and so many people`s lives are threatened," Obama said, referring to the Islamic State group.
"Because of the almost unprecedented effort of this coalition, I think we now have an opportunity to send a very clear message that the world is united, that all of us are committed to making sure that we degrade and ultimately destroy not only ISIL but also the kind of extremist ideologies that can lead to so much bloodshed."
Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all joined the operation against the Islamic State in Syria.
In New York, King Abdullah II of Jordan was joined by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, new Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi as well as ministers from Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Deputy US national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters that it had been important to "see that there are a broad number of Arab partners who are with us."
But Obama warned that the air strikes were "not the end of the effort but... rather a beginning."
"This is not going to be something that is quick, and it`s not something that`s going to be easy. It will take time, and it`s not only a military effort," the US commander-in-chief said.
It was important to tackle the root causes allowing extremist ideologies to take hold, including seeking to wipe out poverty.
"We have to make sure that we are providing the education necessary for young people to succeed in a modern economy, that we all have to promote religious tolerance."