Kerry and Hammond to Hold Meeting on ISIS

January 17, 2015  

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will host a meeting in London on Thursday of members of the coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS) group, officials said Saturday, according to AFP.

The one-day talks will involve foreign ministers from about 20 countries, including Arab states, to discuss progress so far on tackling the group which occupies swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

A British official confirmed the meeting will take place at Lancaster House in central London, a fortnight after deadly attacks in Paris by three gunmen claiming to act on behalf of Al-Qaeda and the ISIS group.

“This will be an important opportunity to take stock and assess the progress made so far in our joint efforts to tackle [ISIS’s] poisonous ideology,” Hammond told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“The key active partners in the coalition, including our Arab partners, will gather in London to decide what more we need to do to degrade and defeat [ISIS],” he added.

“It’s vital that we consider what more we can all do to tackle the issue of foreign fighters, to clamp down on [ISIS’s] financing, to step up humanitarian assistance and continue our co-ordinated military campaign.”

Discussions at Thursday’s meeting will focus on five areas — foreign fighters, the military campaign against ISIS targets, its sources of finances, strategic communications and humanitarian assistance, the official said, according to AFP.

The Middle East has been galvanized since last June when Islamic State fighters, already in control of much of Syria, swept through northern Iraq, seizing cities, slaughtering prisoners, and proclaiming a “caliphate” that would rule over all Muslims.

The United States-led military aerial campaign against the group’s targets began in late September, though some evidence showed that it has not been effective.

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