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Carl Josephs, Londra

22 Ianuarie 2015
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Foreign ministers from 21 countries have been meeting in London to discuss ways to co-ordinate efforts to combat the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

London: Summit discusses international effort against IS


Photo: Archive.

A major criticism of the international coalition of more than sixty states and organisations against IS, has been that the focus was on trying to defeat it by airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

While slowing its advances and in some places forcing it to change its military tactics, the airstrikes have not defeated IS.

This London meeting was intended to assess whether the strategy is the right one.

But senior unnamed officials revealed that the real focus was dealing with the issue of foreign fighters going to join IS, and the dangers they posed when returning to their home countries.

And although the recent attacks in France have not been directly linked to IS, there have been hundreds of arrests across Europe of returning jihadis whom the authorities believe are planning terrorist attacks.

The European police agency, Europol, estimates that up to 5,000 EU citizens have travelled to Syria and Iraq, and thousands of others have travelled from Arab and Muslim states.

At a press conference , Philip Hammond, the British Foreign Minister responded to a question about foreign fighters going from the UK to join IS, often via Turkey:

"We need to work with our partners in Europe because many of these people are transiting through points in Europe. I was Bucharest and Sofia last week, both cities that are used as transit points between here and Turkey. And we're working very closely with the security services in the countries that are used as transit routes", said Philip Hammond.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry said that while the coalition still had a lot of work to do, it had achieved a great deal, militarily, in humanitarian aid and in helping the Iraqi government to fight IS - or as he calls IS -- Da'ash.

"Today we are seeing important gains along all the lines of effort. And we discussed these gains in detail, today, as well as the necessary steps we have to take to build on them. So let me also add that we are not only focussed on defeating Da'ash and liberating the areas that are under its control in the short term, but we're also concerned with helping Da'ash's victims to rebuild their lives once Da'ash is long gone", said John Kerry.

So from the public pronouncements the meeting was a chance to evaluate the success of the coalition strategy in terms of its airstrikes, cutting off funding to IS, providing military assistance to those fighting IS on the ground, and providing humanitarian aid to its victims.

But clearly stemming the flow of fighters to and from IS remains a serious problem.

And, only passing reference was made to the need for a political settlement to the crises in Syria and Iraq that created the conditions in which IS has developed and prospered.

Etichete LondonSummitForeign ministersjihadist groupIslamic StateIraqSyriaFranceEuropolterroristEUcitizenarabmuslimPhilip HammondUKTurkeyBucharestSofiaUSJohn Kerry

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