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Kuwait ‘indispensable partner’ of anti-IS coalition: Gen Allen – Obama’s envoy meets FM, Info minister
20/10/2015 22
Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah with Gen John Allen, US President’s Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL yesterday in Kuwait
Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah with Gen John Allen, US President’s Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL yesterday in Kuwait
KUWAIT: General John Allen, US President’s Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, said here yesterday Kuwait was an “indispensable partner” in the fight against the so-called ISIL as well as its enormous humanitarian aid for the Syrian people. “Kuwait has been the indispensable partner and it is something we are very proud of in terms of partnership and friendship with Kuwait,” Allen said in a statement to KUNA.
He was speaking following his meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al- Sabah, and Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah. Allen said the government of Kuwait has participated extensively and has made “incredible contributions” to the US-led international coalition countering the socalled Islamic State in Iraq and Levant in areas such as “humanitarian assistance and in support to certain activities in the coalition.” Allen said his visit to Kuwait, part of a regional tour, was an opportunity to brief the Kuwaiti leadership on progress and activities of the coalition, which consists of some 60 countries.
The coalition is attacking ISIL targets both in Syria and Iraq with the aim of destroying and eliminating the terrorist group. The conflict in Syria, which broke out in March 2011, has forced millions of people to flee their homes to safe havens either inside the country or in neighboring nations, creating the worst humanitarian refugee situation since the second world war.
Allen said he and the Kuwaiti officials have expressed “our mutual concern about the humanitarian situation across the region, our concern about the humanitarian situation inside Syria.” Kuwait has been at the forefront of offering humanitarian assistance to the needy Syrian people, either the internally displaced or refugees in neighboring countries
Donor conferences
Kuwait has hosted three donor conferences in the past three years to help the Syrian people, contributing some $3.6 billion out of the $7.3 billion in total pledges. “Kuwait has been enormously helpful to the world community in its humanitarian commitment to reduce the suffering of the Syrian people,” said Allen.
Allen, meanwhile, said he and the Kuwaiti officials also discussed common challenges posed by ISIL, and it was an opportunity to listen from them on how to better understand the situation in the region.
The UN Security Council (UNSC) has also adopted resolutions against ISIL and other terrorist groups in the region. Resolution 2170 (2014) condemned the gross human rights violations by the extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, while resolution 2199 (2015) condemned trade with Al-Qaeda-associated groups and ISIL. Both resolutions under Chapter VII of UN Charter. The fight against ISIL has witnessed a new twist with the Russians carrying out an air campaign against what they said were terrorist groups on the ground in Syria.
The Russian involvement, made at the Syrian regime’s request, worries the US. “It appears their (Russians) efforts are intended to support the Bashar Al-Assad regime,” said Allen. “It also appears while they have indicated their initial intent to attack ISIL that in fact they are attacking any group on the ground that professes to be in opposition to Assad regime, which is a problem. “We would have welcomed their effort to attack IISIL and ISIL is not receiving much attention from them. Other elements of the Syrian population opposing the regime are frequent of the Russian attacks,” he added.
The Russian involvement forced the US to initial military-to-military communications with the Russians for the sake of deconfliction to avoid accidents in the air. “We are deconflicting with the Russians, we are not coordinating with them, “ said Allen. “We are working on assuring safety of flights, of overall safety of coalition campaign,” he added. Allen’s regional tour also includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab emirates (UAE), Qatar and Bahrain. —KUN
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