The Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL met at the Federal Foreign Office on Thursday (17 November). The discussion at Political Director level focused on the liberation of the Iraqi city of Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa. The meeting was opened by State Secretary Markus Ederer and US Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk.
Success in the fight against IS
State Secretary Ederer opened the meeting with good news about the fight against the terrorist group IS. The operation to liberate Mosul is underway in Iraq. In Syria, the IS strongholds of Manbij and Jarabulus have been captured and the liberation of Raqqa has begun. In Libya, the terrorists have been almost entirely pushed out of the city of Sirte, while IS’ global networks are also under pressure. However, Ederer warned, there is still much work to be done.
Humanitarian aid and stabilisation
Ederer said that military support must be accompanied by humanitarian aid and stabilisation endeavours so that the liberation is ultimately a success. Germany has taken on responsibility in this area, for example as co-chair with the United Arab Emirates of the Stabilisation Working Group and as one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid in the region. It also initiated the establishment of a stabilisation facility for Libya in the spring. This facility is managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Discussion on further activities
The purpose of the regular meetings of the Small Group – 26 countries and international organisations – is to review the state of play and agree on further activities. In its closing statement, the group welcomed the fact that over one million displaced persons in Iraq have been able to return to their homes. At the same time, it highlighted the growing humanitarian needs and the dangers of terrorist attacks against other countries while IS is losing ground in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
The next Small Group meeting is scheduled to take place in March 2017.