More than a week ago, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron penned an op-ed urging their fellow world leaders to shed their isolationist approach and join the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. After the third beheading of a captured Western citizen, it looks like the rest of the world is stepping up to the task. French President Francois Hollande called for immediate action against ISIS during a one-day conference of world leaders on Monday, emphasizing that the terrorist group now poses a global threat.
The French president opened the conference, which gathered together delegates from Europe and the Middle East, as well as the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. It's the latest step in Obama's plan for an international coalition — a strategy he first introduced following the murder of American journalist James Foley — and it looks like he has finally garnered support from the global community.
Hollande said during Monday's meeting:
What is the threat? It is global so the response must be global ... Iraq's fight against the terrorists is also our fight. We must commit ourselves together — that is the purpose of this conference. ... Islamic State's doctrine is either you support us or kill us. It has committed massacres and genocidal crimes and ethnic purification.
Following Hollande's strong opening, the 30 participants of the conference released a joint statement pledging their full support behind Iraq and their struggle against ISIS. The statement comes after Secretary of State John Kerry spent a week touring the Middle East, rallying support from Iraq's neighboring nations, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
In their statement, the 30 nations backed the formation of a new Iraqi government under Prime Minister Haïdar al-Abadi, and said ISIS needs to be removed from the region "by any means necessary." The coalition also said it will continue to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq, both now and during its reconstruction period.
Here's part of the joint statement:
All participants underscored the urgent need to remove Daech (ISIL) from the regions in which it has established itself in Iraq. To that end, they committed to supporting the new Iraqi Government in its fight against Daech (ISIL), by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance, in line with the needs expressed by the Iraqi authorities, in accordance with international law and without jeopardizing civilian security.
Before the conference began, Hollande announced that France would be joining the U.S. in its military airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq. The French president said the French military will fly reconnaissance mission to help gather intelligence on ISIS.
The conference participants also reaffirmed their commitment to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council on the fight against terrorism and its sources of recruitment and financing, in particular Resolution 2170. They will make sure that this resolution is correctly implemented and will take the necessary measures to ensure it has all the intended effects. They firmly believe that resolute action is necessary to eradicate Daech (ISIL), particularly measures to prevent radicalization, coordination between all security services and stricter border control. They welcomed the prospect of working on an action plan to combat terrorist financing.