The text of the following statement is a joint release of defense ministers of Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Secretary General of NATO. They were joined by senior representatives from Albania, New Zealand, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
Today in Brussels U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hosted the fifth meeting of Defense Ministers and Senior representatives from countries contributing troops and basing to the Global Coalition to Defeat-ISIS/Da’esh since its founding in September 2014 to address world-wide concern over ISIS/Da’esh and the threat it poses to international peace and security.
Ministers reiterated their unrelenting commitment to ensuring the lasting defeat of ISIS/Da’esh. Discussions included updates on efforts to accelerate the military campaign plan in Iraq and Syria as part of the Coalition’s whole-of-government efforts. Ministers recognized the significant progress that has been made in liberating territory from the scourge of ISIS/Da’esh, but also acknowledged that significant work remains to ensure that ISIS/Da’esh no longer poses a threat to our citizens or to the stability of the region. While our Coalition remains focused on destroying the ISIS/Da’esh core in Iraq and Syria, the Coalition is also adapting to curb ISIS/Da’esh’s global ambitions. Coinciding with our successful military campaign against ISIS/Da’esh, there is still a need to address its extremist ideology.
We paid tribute to the efforts of the Iraqi Security Forces in securing liberated territories and maintaining peace and security during the Iraqi elections, which proceeded unmarred by ISIS/Da’esh terrorist attacks, and took note of the significant operations along the Iraq/Syria border and in Syria’s Middle Euphrates River Valley to liberate the final ISIS/Da’esh controlled areas in the region. We also stressed our continued commitment to consolidating our collective gains to date and preventing the re-emergence of ISIS/Da’esh by supporting Iraqi-led political and security sector reforms, and, through UNSCR 2254, committing to reach a political solution in Syria, thus helping to address the root causes of the appearance of ISIS/Da’esh.
Ministers provided broad support for the objectives of the campaign plan and reaffirmed our governments’ unwavering commitment to work together against ISIS/Da’esh, most recently expressed in February 2018 by the Coalition’s Foreign Ministers in Kuwait through the Coalition’s Guiding Principles. We discussed ISIS/Da’esh as a global threat and using our established mechanisms we will continue to develop a shared understanding of the trans-regional networks enabling the ISIS/Da’esh global branches and affiliates. We will continue to meet on a regular basis so that our collective efforts are effectively coordinated, united in our determination to defeat ISIS/Da’esh through a focused, sustained, multi-faceted effort.
We took note of the substantial military and financial resources provided by Coalition members that have enabled progress in the campaign, and thanked those nations that have, from the start of the campaign, demonstrated leadership and support. We acknowledged the ongoing changes in military requirements in our fight against ISIS/Da’esh in Syria and Iraq, as the Coalition transitions to support stabilization and capacity building where possible. Ministers noted that, while the military campaign is an essential part of our overall effort to defeat and destroy ISIS/Da’esh, on its own it is not enough to ensure lasting success. A sound political process leading to lasting peace and stability in the region is also required to prevent the reemergence of ISIS/Da’esh. Legitimate, inclusive local governance is also essential for stability. We are committed to ensuring our military actions coordinate with civilian stabilization and humanitarian assistance, law enforcement efforts, counter financing efforts, information sharing, and other non-military activities to deal with any remaining ISIS/Da’esh cells, set conditions for sustainable security and stability in the region and contribute to preventing people from being forced to leave their home countries and to facilitating the return home of those who have been.
We thank all of our partners who are helping us advance the military campaign against ISIS/Da’esh and its economic and industrial infrastructure. We also express our gratitude for the sacrifices made by Coalition personnel who put themselves in harm’s way to fight against ISIS/Da’esh. Finally, we thank those nations who have provided financial contributions to support the significant stabilization and humanitarian needs of indigenous local populations but acknowledge that significant funding gaps remain that must be addressed to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS/Da’esh. We encourage others to join us in this noble effort and build upon our successes.