We will crush ISIS, say Kerry and Gentiloni

Int'l anti-ISIS coalition summit in Rome

02 February, 18:41

    Italy's Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, and Us Secretary of State, John Kerry Italy's Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, and Us Secretary of State, John Kerry

    (by Denis Greenan).

    ROME - US Secretary of State John Kerry and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Tuesday vowed to crush Islamic State (ISIS) at a meeting of the coalition against the Islamist militants in Rome.
    Kerry said that the coalition fighting ISIS will prevail. "The world expects security from us and we'll destroy ISIS," Kerry told the meeting of the Small Group of the anti-ISIS coalition.
    Gentiloni echoed Kerry, but was slightly more cautious.
    "There have been steps forward on the ground with respect to the Paris summit," he said. "But no triumphalism is warranted, we must continue the armed effort in Iraq". He said that in the fight against ISIS "important progress has been made" though "we are faced with a very resilient organization and therefore we must not underestimate it".
    Gentiloni said that "there is a risk that Daesh (ISIS) will multiply its activity in Libya. "But it is comforting for Italy to know that there is agreement among us on the need to bank on the negotiated process that has been opened".
    Kerry said that "Italy's commitment in the anti-ISIS coalition is substantial" and for that "we thank it".
    Kerry said that Italy has been "great" in the fight. He said "its commitment to the coalition is one of the biggest in terms of people, and financial and military contributions in Iraq." Kerry thanked Italy "in particular for its leadership role in Libya in the process of forming the government." The US "pushed" for a deal on the Mosul Dam - recaptured from ISIS recently - that will see Italy's Trevi Group repairing and maintaining it, Kerry said. He said President Barack Obama had been carefully following the situation.
    Italy and it allies are betting on stopping the ongoing civil war in Syria, Gentiloni went on. "In Syria our bet is that the Geneva talks will (bring about) a cease-fire and stop the greatest humanitarian tragedy of the last decades," Gentiloni said Kerry said that the "humanitarian catastrophe" in Syria must be ended.
    He said it would help "if those who say they are fighting ISIS actually fight ISIS".
    Kerry, who once more ruled out US boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria, urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to take "immediate measures" to end the siege of cities where Syrians are dying of hunger. He said only 13 of 130 UN requests to deliver humanitarian aid had been met by the Syrian authorities.
    "People continue to die of hunger. And that is an intentional tactic by the regime," he said.
    Kerry said that the Rome talks looked at how to "increase efforts" to win the war. Kerry arrived Monday in Rome and met representatives from 23 countries who are already involved in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State at the Italian foreign ministry. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the initiatives staged over the past year and to strengthen and, most of all, accelerate the joint effort in the perspective of confronting the various challenges that are still open, with the hypothesis of the opening another front in Libya. "In #Rome & #London this week for important mtgs on progress against #Daesh & humanitarian response to #SyriaCrisis", tweeted Kerry before the meeting.

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