The forces of the US-led coalition striking positions of the Islamic State are mainly Arab, said Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah yesterday. He added that the terrorist group poses a threat not only to Iraq, but the whole region as well. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled made the statement in a press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim Al-Jaafari following talks by a visiting a Arab delegation led by the Kuwaiti minister with the Iraqi president, prime minister, parliament speaker, foreign minister, finance minister and several other Iraqi officials. Kuwait is the head of the current Arab Summit.
The talks focused on developments in Iraq and the “critical” conditions in the region amid implications of terrorist acts. Not only does IS pose a threat to Iraq, but to the whole region, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled told the conference, referring to the visit as a sign of “support and solidarity” with Iraq, whose “security and stability is a pillar for the region’s stability”.
The delegation includes Mauritanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Ahmed Ould Teguedi, whose country holds the current session of the Arab League, and Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil Al-Arabi. “We have been briefed by the Iraqi officials on the challenges facing the country and the details will be comprised in a report to be submitted to the Arab foreign ministers on the visit’s outcome,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said.
Developments in Iraq will feature high on the agenda of the coming meeting of Arab foreign ministers, he said, calling for offering more aid to displaced Iraqis and halting financing to terrorists. Stringent control of borders is essential to prevent terrorist from infiltrating into the country, he added. The Kuwaiti foreign minister referred to the Jeddah conference held on Sept 11 to offer political support to the Iraqi government and the humanitarian aid provided to displaced Iraqis who were forced to flee their homes in the face of terrorist attacks.
On bilateral ties, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said the joint higher committee is due to meet by the end of the year, noting that the two countries managed over the past two years to resolve various outstanding files. He said that he would discuss with Jaafari the exact date for the next committee meeting.
Addressing the conference, Jaafari highlighted that Baghdad did not ask for any Arab or foreign troops on Iraqi soil. “Iraq only demanded arming its security forces and training them,” the Iraqi foreign minister pointed out. Referring to bilateral ties, he expressed readiness to activate the joint higher committee and keenness on promoting these relations.
Arabi called for a comprehensive ideological, intellectual and economic confrontation with terrorism and IS, not just through military power. “Combating terrorist ideology in the region will take a long time, and it has to be comprehensive,” he told the conference, noting that the visit is on behalf of all the Arab countries concerned with Iraq’s stability and welfare. The Arab League chief also said that countering challenges in Iraq is a responsibility of the whole world. The outcome of the visit and conditions on the ground in Iraq will be submitted to the next meeting of Arab foreign ministers, Teguedi said.