The war on terrorism, with special reference to the turmoil in the Middle East region, will top the agenda of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s talks in Jeddah on Thursday with the foreign ministers of 11 countries, including GCC states.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah held telephone talks with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday ahead of the key Jeddah meeting.
“The two leaders discussed major regional and international developments and issues of mutual concern,” said the SPA, adding that Obama initiated the talks.
Speaking in Iraq on Wednesday, Kerry said neither the United States nor the rest of the world will stand by and watch the IS spread its evil.
Kerry was in Baghdad to meet with Iraq’s new leaders and pledge US support for eliminating the extremist group and the threat it poses.
Johann Schmonsees, US Embassy spokesman, told Arab News that the focus of Kerry’s trip is building a coalition, as he did last week at NATO with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
“Secretary Kerry will discuss with regional leaders how they can engage on measures that they can take to assist the coalition that is developing to degrade and defeat the Islamic State (IS),” Johann added.
He said that different countries have a range of capabilities or capacities. “The focus will be on multiple lines of effort, including military support to our Iraqi partners, stopping the flow of foreign fighters, countering financing and funding to terror outfits, addressing humanitarian crises and delegitimizing IS ideology,” he said.
Referring to the need to join hands together to fight terror and to ensure peace and security across the Middle East, Johann said that there are more than 40 countries that have “contributed to the effort in Iraq, whether that’s humanitarian assistance, arms to the Kurds, or a range of other steps.” Kerry will discuss how to build on that effort in the regional meeting in Jeddah, he added.
An Arab diplomat said “key regional issues may come up in discussion…you know when such high-level meetings take place, officials discuss a range of other subjects, which may not necessarily be on the agenda.” He, however, refused to provide specifics when asked about Syria, Iran or Yemen.
The meeting will be attended by foreign ministers and high-ranking officials of GCC countries, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and possibly Iraq.

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