It is necessary to support the military potential, the US Secretary of State noted.
The countries of the international coalition leading the fight against the terrorist group “Islamic State” should make efforts to preserve the combat capability of their formation. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this in an interview provided to the weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche together with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. The interview is published in the Sunday issue of the publication.
“It is necessary to support our [military] potential,” Blinken said, answering a question about the upcoming meeting of representatives of the participating countries of the international coalition in Rome on Monday. “Thanks to the existence of this coalition, which includes about seven dozen countries, we achieved victory by destroying the “caliphate” of the IS, geographically located in Iraq and Syria. However, you should not lower your vigilance. We cannot allow the IS group to regain its strength,” the US Secretary of State stressed.
The question of Afghanistan
During the interview, he also noted, answering a question about the US withdrawal from Afghanistan: “Today the threat to the US in Afghanistan is less than 10 years ago. We are vigilant to ensure that this danger is eliminated, and we retain the ability to take action if necessary. The US armed forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan, but we are supporting Afghanistan in all other areas,” Blinken assured.
He emphasized that “the highest achievement in relation to the situation in Afghanistan should be the conclusion of a peace agreement that will put an end to the conflict that has been going on for about forty years.” “This is what we are negotiating with the Taliban about. Enemies, as you know, are not chosen,” the Secretary of State added, referring to criticism from those who consider it unacceptable to conduct such negotiations with the Taliban movement.
“I’m focusing on the present and the future,” he continued. “We always strive to learn lessons from the past, in particular concerning Syria, but also Iraq, Afghanistan, or Libya.”
“Our presence in the region remains, but it is not the only military, but it is also diplomatic, political, and economic. It concerns the security of our partners, which has already been demonstrated in the actions that have made it possible to achieve success in the fight against ISIS,” the US Secretary of State said.
Stability of Iraq
For his part, Jean-Yves Le Drian noted, speaking about ensuring the effectiveness of the coalition, that “such efforts are connected with ensuring stability in Iraq, which is of the utmost importance.” “If political, economic, and social stability is not achieved in Iraq, there will be real risks of restoring the potential of the IG in those zones where this group was previously present,” the French Foreign minister said.
At the same time, Blinken noted that “the parliamentary elections in Iraq, which will be held this fall, are of crucial importance.” “It should be ensured that the UN and the European Union monitor this electoral process, which will ensure the credibility of the elections of the Iraqis and their participation in them,” the Secretary of State said. “We are working on it,” he added.