Brusels, MINA – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Defence Secretary James Mattis hosted a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the NATO headquarters Thursday.
According to KUNA, in their opening remarks, both said that 95 percent of territory IS once controlled in Iraq and Syria is now liberated.
“Mosul, Tal Afar and Hawijah have been liberated; efforts to liberate the final pockets of ISIS-held territory in Anbar province are progressing rapidly,” Mattis said.
“Two weeks ago, the coalition’s local partners in Syria liberated Raqqa, as ISIS’ leadership crumbled and many fighters surrendered, “the US secretary said.
“Under Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s leadership, Arab and Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite forces have worked together with unprecedented levels of cooperation,” he said.
“Additionally, the ill-advised Kurdish referendum in October has created tension, but we are on track to resolve it constitutionally,” said the US secretary.
He, however, stressed “that despite these successes our fight is not over.
“Even without a physical caliphate, ISIS remains a threat to stability in the recently liberated areas, as well as in our homelands. The fight to defeat ISIS will remain long-term, requiring all elements of the coalition’s collective national powers, he added.
On his part, Stoltenberg said stabilization is spreading and more than two million people in Iraq have now returned to their homes.
“That success is due to the nations gathered in this room, most importantly to Iraq, whose forces have shown great courage and resilience. And also to the many other nations around this table. Nearly all of whom are NATO Allies or NATO partners,” he said.
Some 35 countries took part in today’s meeting. Kuwait was represented by its ambassador to NATO, EU, Belgium and Luxembourg, Jassem Al Budaiwi. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)