Following a first-of-its-kind meeting hosted by Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Brussels on Thursday, the defense ministers of nations involved in the coalition to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant released a statement summarizing the meeting’s outcome.
In addition to Carter, the defense ministers of Belgium, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom participated in the meeting that led to the joint statement. They were joined by senior representatives from Australia, the Czech Republic and Singapore, three nations that provide or intend to provide forces or other support to the campaign.
The statement said the ministers paid tribute to the efforts of all Iraqi security forces, including the peshmerga and Sunni tribal forces, and moderate Syrian opposition forces who are fighting ISIL and have caused numerous tactical defeats of the terror organization in recent months. The ministers said they also acknowledged the coalition force commander’s assessment that these successes mark the transition of the Counter-ISIL campaign.
However, the ministers said, they also acknowledged that significant work remains to be done to ensure ISIL’s lasting defeat and the restoration of stability in Iraq and Syria. “We called on those states playing a counterproductive role in the fight … and the Syrian peace process to play a more constructive role,” the statement said.
Broad Support for Campaign Objectives
The ministers said they provided broad support for the objectives of the counter-ISIL campaign plan and reaffirmed their governments’ “unwavering commitment” to work together.