Kerry arrives in Saudi to rally support against IS

Ahram Online, AFP, Thursday 11 Sep 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad September 10, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Saudi city of Jeddah Thursday for talks aimed at building a coalition with Arab states and Turkey against Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

The top US diplomat, touring the Middle East to establish a coalition of more than 40 countries, is to meet with counterparts from 10 key Arab nations and Turkey on measures to defeat the jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

The Jeddah conference comes one day after US President Barack Obama's authorisation to US airstrikes against IS militants and the deployment of 475 military advisers to Iraq.

In a 13-minute White House speech, Obama said he would hunt down IS militants "wherever they are" in a drive to degrade and ultimately destroy the group which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria.

"That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven," AFP quoted Obama as saying on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2011, attacks.

The United States is currently building an international coalition against IS involving some regional partners in the Middle East and Western allies.

Ahead of the speech, Obama spoke to the Saudi King Abdullah by phone as the latter said he will host a US training effort for the Syrian rebels, AFP reported.

Speaking from Baghdad, Kerry said on Wednesday that the global coalition will defeat jihadists in Iraq and Syria. "We all know -- I think we come to this with great confidence -- that, ultimately, our global coalition will succeed in eliminating the threat from Iraq, from the region and from the world," Kerry said.

A US delegation landed in Cairo to lay the ground for an expected visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry as part of a Mideast tour to forge a coalition to crush militants, Egypt's state-run news agency reported Thursday.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Thursday's meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and regional foreign ministers will seek to establish a "comprehensive vision" over dealing with the threat of IS.

Such a plan aims to encounter the phenomena of terrorism and extremism in the Middle East, Shoukry pointed out. In addition to the US, the Jeddah gathering will include top diplomats from Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey as well as six Gulf states.

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