ALLIES GATHER TO
Officials from 68 nations meet in US to get more info on Trump’s strategy
MINISTERS from the 68-nation United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group met here yesterday to hear more about US President Donald Trump’s plan to destroy the jihadists’ remaining strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
Trump has ordered his generals to craft an accelerated strategy to “eradicate” the group’s socalled caliphate, and allied partners are keen to learn more at the day-long ministerial-level discussion.
The meeting at the State Department also allows Trump’s discreet secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, to emerge from the shadows and stamp his authority on the diplomatic side of the joint effort.
But Trump’s plan to slash 28 per cent from the State Department’s budget for diplomacy and foreign aid suggests fewer resources for post-conflict stabilisation — a proposal that has raised eyebrows.
European diplomats said they expect Washington to reaffirm its commitment to a longer-term plan to secure the region after a battlefield victory.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider alAbadi was here just ahead of the talks, and said victory against IS was within sight if its allies stick together.
“We are proving that Daesh can be killed, can be eliminated,” alAbadi said at the US Institute for