Following a virtual meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS Small Group, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (4 June) in The Hague:
The so-called Islamic State still poses a serious threat in Iraq and Syria. Our joint international efforts to fight this terrorist organisation therefore remain important and should absolutely be maintained. As a reliable partner of the new Iraqi Government, we will continue to support it, both with this task and as it embarks on the important path of reforms.
While visiting The Hague, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok today jointly participated in the Foreign Ministers’ meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS Small Group. This was the first meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers since the formation of the new Iraqi Government. Ministers discussed how the work of the Coalition can be further pursued in Iraq and Syria despite limitations in connection with COVID-19. They also talked about cooperation with the new Government in Iraq under Prime Minister al-Kadhimi, and what forms the Coalition’s military and civilian support can take. Foreign Minister Maas took the opportunity to underline that he is prepared to continue Germany’s engagement.
The Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS was established in 2014 and meanwhile comprises more than 80 states and organisations. It meets on a regular basis on all levels and in five Working Groups. The Small Group is a political format that brings together approximately 30 highly engaged states and international organisations. Germany is an active member of all strands of work, and it co-chairs the Stabilisation Working Group. The last meeting involving all Foreign Ministers took place in Washington, DC, in February 2019. The Foreign Ministers meeting that was planned to be held in Naples at the end of April had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was now held at the invitation of Italy, initially as a virtual Small Group meeting.
The Coalition is active in both Iraq and Syria. Although ISIS no longer holds any territory, the terrorist organisation has gone underground and remains capable of conducting attacks throughout the country. In territories in Syria that have been liberated from ISIS, Germany supports the population through civilian and humanitarian activities that aim to prevent a resurgence of the terrorists. In Iraq, Germany is involved in Global Coalition military efforts, but is in particular also working in the civilian sphere to help stabilise and rebuild the country.
The joint communique by the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS Small Group can be found here.