At the invitation of Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio and U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, the Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS Small Group met virtually today to reaffirm our shared determination to continue the fight against Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and to create conditions for an enduring defeat of the terrorist group, which remains the Coalition’s sole purpose, through a comprehensive, multifaceted effort.
The Ministers emphasized the protection of civilians and affirmed that international law, including international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians and international human rights law, as well as relevant UN Security Council resolutions, must be upheld under all circumstances. The Ministers, recalling their statement of February 6, 2019, committed to strengthen cooperation across all Coalition lines of effort in order to ensure that Daesh/ISIS and its affiliates are unable to reconstitute any territorial enclave or continue to threaten our homelands, people, and interests. Together we remain firmly united in our outrage at Daesh/ISIS’s atrocities and in our determination to eliminate this global threat.
The Ministers appreciate deeply the address to the Coalition on the fight against Daesh/ISIS in Iraq presented by Prime Minister Kadhimi, thank him for his support for the Coalition, and acknowledge with deepest respect the extraordinary efforts and huge sacrifices made by Iraq against Daesh/ISIS.
While Daesh/ISIS no longer controls territory and nearly eight million people have been freed from its control in Iraq and Syria, the threat remains and thus calls for stronger vigilance and coordinated action. This includes allocating adequate resources to sustain Coalition and legitimate partner forces’ efforts against Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria, including stabilization support to liberated areas, to safeguard our collective security interests.
We welcome the establishment of a new government in Baghdad, and look forward to engaging in a fruitful dialogue with the Government of Iraq on our joint endeavor to maintain pressure on Daesh/ISIS. The Coalition operates in Iraq at the request of the Government of Iraq, in full respect of Iraq’s sovereignty and aiming at strengthening its security. We will continue our close cooperation with and support to the Government of Iraq on appropriate measures to adapt the operational efficiency and coordination of our collective efforts to defeat Daesh/ISIS. We welcome the decision of the April 2 NATO Ministerial regarding the role of NATO Mission Iraq. While the COVID-19 crisis has had an impact on the Coalition’s activities and operations, the Ministers committed to continue working with our partner forces to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic while supporting efforts to further dismantle Daesh/ISIS.
In Syria, the Coalition stands with the Syrian people in support of a lasting political settlement in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. The Coalition must continue to be vigilant against the threat of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, to build on the success it has achieved and continue to act together against any threats to this outcome to avoid security vacuums that Daesh/ISIS may exploit.
The Ministers also noted with concern the emerging threat posed by Daesh/ISIS affiliates and branches worldwide, in particular in West Africa and the Sahel. The Coalition reaffirmed its plans for a meeting focused on capacity building in West Africa and the Sahel that would fully respect international law, be upon the request and prior consent of the countries concerned, and be coordinated with existing efforts and initiatives, including the Coalition for the Sahel.
The Ministers agreed on the urgent need to pursue information sharing on known members of Daesh/ISIS affiliates, including via multilateral law enforcement channels like INTERPOL, and particularly for border security purposes and increasing strategic communications.
The Ministers, recognizing the challenge posed by foreign terrorist fighters who are in custody as well as family members who remain in Syria and Iraq, commit to pursue existing effective accountability mechanisms in close coordination with the countries of origin, including accountability for fighters who have used sexual violence as an instrument of terror.
The Ministers remain committed to promoting efforts to ensure that accused terrorists, including those of foreign nationality, are treated appropriately and tried consistent with their international law obligations, including fair trial guarantees, and we urge the custodians of the detained Daesh/ISIS fighters to continue to treat them humanely at all times, in accordance with international law. The Ministers further recognized that the situation for Daesh/ISIS detainees and family members in northeast Syria is of grave concern and recognized the importance of finding a comprehensive approach to this serious problem.
The Coalition reaffirmed its belief that this comprehensive effort is necessary to achieve a full and enduring defeat of Daesh/ISIS worldwide. The Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS has proven that it is a cohesive, adaptable vehicle that has sustained this important endeavor through stabilization, political, military and law enforcement lines of effort. The Ministers also confirmed their intent to hold the next full ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition in Italy as soon as circumstances permit.