British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond stressed on Thursday (January 22) the importance of all aspects of the campaign against Islamic State [IS] militants ahead of talks between coalition members involved in the fight.
Hammond welcomed US Secretary of State John Kerry who was co-hosting the talks at London's Lancaster House and told journalists he hopes the meeting of key US-led coalition members would be the first of many consultations.
"I'm delighted to welcome Secretary Kerry and our other partners here today for this important coalition steering group meeting. It's a remarkable achievement to have brought together over 60 nations in the coalition in the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. What we are doing with this meeting is bringing together the key members of that coalition, those that are most actively engaged in the front line, to take stock of our achievements over the last four or five months, to hear from General John Allen about what is happening on the ground, and to plan the next steps of this campaign which we've all recognised will be a long haul to restoring full Iraqi government control of all the territory of Iraq. So I look forward to a very constructive discussion today with our colleagues and I hope this will be the first of a series of regular meetings to take stock and provide command and control of the overall coalition campaign," said Hammond.
Secretary Hammond stressed that the meeting would not solely focus on the military aspects of the campaign but would also be an opportunity to discuss other strategies for eradicating the extremist group.
"This conference is not just about military operation in Iraq, it's about the other strands of this campaign as well. We're very clear that undermining the narrative of ISIL, interdicting the flow of foreign fighters, stopping the flow of financial funding to ISIL is as important as the military campaign itself."
Representatives from 21 of the coalition members attended the meeting on Thursday.