U.S. to host 68-nation meeting on countering ISIS

U.S. to host 68-nation meeting on countering ISISThe Trump administration is scheduled to host a meeting of ministers from 68 countries focussed on taking forward the battle against ISIS, the State Department said on Thursday.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will head the meeting in Washington over two days - March 22-23.

The March 22-23 meeting of coalition foreign ministers aimed "to accelerate international efforts to defeat ISIS in the remaining areas it holds in Iraq and Syria and maximize pressure on its branches, affiliates, and networks," the State Department said in a statement, using an acronym for Islamic State.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly vowed that one of his priorities would be to confront the Islamist extremists, who are currently battling to hold on to territory in Syria and Iraq.

The meeting is going to become the biggest of international coalition opposed to ISIS since 2014. It comes as ISIS appears to be losing ground militarily.

“It tells the coalition partners the U.S. remains incredibly committed to working with them to defeat ISIS,” a senior U.S. official said.

The official said the first thing the new administration will do is reinforce the importance of the coalition, which includes both military partners and nations that support diplomatic and humanitarian efforts through donations of money.

The Trump administration had said it would retain Barack Obama’s top official in charge of what was formerly called the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, but had not spelled out its goals for the group of 68 countries and international organisations.
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