Kerry to Attend Rome Talks on Fighting IS

Kerry to Attend Rome Talks on Fighting ISKerry to Attend Rome Talks on Fighting IS

US Secretary of State John Kerry will attend a gathering in Rome on Tuesday of countries fighting the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and then go on to London the next day for an aid conference on Syria, the US State Department said.

Tuesday’s meeting in Rome “will review progress to date and discuss ways to further intensify commitments across all lines of effort to degrade and defeat” the militant group, State Department spokesman, John Kirby, said in a statement, Reuters reported.

Other nations at the Rome gathering will include Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UAE and the United Kingdom, Kirby said.

In the meantime, Kerry said on Friday he expects Canada to announce in the coming weeks what role it will play in an international coalition fighting IS forces in Syria and Iraq.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who won an election last October promising to withdraw six fighter jets from a US-led coalition attacking the militants, has yet to state what Canada plans to do once those planes are pulled out.

“I am absolutely confident that the prime minister and his security team are working on ways to continue their significant contribution” to the coalition, Kerry told reporters after meeting his Canadian and Mexican counterparts in Quebec City.

“While they may have made a choice with respect to one particular component of that effort, that does not reflect on their overall commitment and capacity to contribute significantly to the road ahead, and we are confident they will,” Kerry said.

Kerry added, “I look forward in the next weeks to the prime minister’s notification to us of what the plan going forward will be.”

Stephane Dion, Canada’s foreign minister, said Canada was exploring other ways it could contribute to the coalition.

“We have received a number of requests, in particular from our American friends, and this helps us better understand how we can deploy our efforts,” Dion said.

Kerry and Dion said they would have further discussions on the issue at a meeting of coalition partners in Rome next week.