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Pompeo affirms need to continue fight against IS

WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said Thursday the Global Coalition against Daesh "must keep taking the fight" to the so-called Islamic State (IS, ISIS or Daesh); "so do we." "The United States will continue to lead the Coalition, and the world, on this essential security effort," he affirmed.
Secretary Pompeo made the comments in a speech to the Coalition Ministerial Meeting which gathered foreign ministers and representatives from 81 partners to discuss how to ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh.
"Our diplomats here at the State Department, too, have worked with you all as members of the Coalition to stabilize liberated areas, get humanitarian relief to its destinations, and make sure that ISIS cannot gain new footholds," Pompeo pointed out.
"We've gotten assurances from Coalition partners and our partners on the ground on their responsibility for foreign fighters, and we'll hold them to account.
"The caliphate was 100 percent destroyed in March of this year," he stressed. "Today we're watching the space once occupied by this fraudulent caliphate like a hawk. That's why we're maintaining our residual presence at Tanf, in southern Syria, and our capacity to conduct air operations.
"We've repositioned some of our troops in northeast Syria and in the broader region as well, to make sure that ISIS will never get a second wind and to prevent ISIS from recapturing the oil fields.
"And we're continuing to pursue a diplomatic resolution of the Syrian conflict with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 as the guide so that stability can, one day, return to this war-torn land," Secretary Pompeo went on.
Ahead of the ministerial meeting, he wrote in a tweet, "Glad to welcome our D-ISIS Coalition partners to State Dept. to discuss our continued fight against ISIS." "We will continue to work closely with our partners to maintain pressure on ISIS, destroy its remnants, and thwart its global ambitions," he added.
The Department of State said in a statement that Secretary "Pompeo looks forward to hosting the Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS for an extraordinary meeting" to review next steps in the joint campaign to achieve the enduring defeat of ISIS.
"The ministers will meet for strategy discussions on the continued fight against ISIS in the post-liberation era and following the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with a particular focus on recent developments in northeast Syria and their relationship to stability and security of the region," it added.
On his part, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a tweet, "Coalition has made significant progress -- But the fight is not over. ISIS is still a threat." "We must sustain the significant gains we have made together against our common enemy ISIS. NATO remains committed to the fight against international terrorism," he added. (end) asj.gb